US Preparing To Deploy Monkeypox Vaccines Amid More Probable Cases

File photo

 

The United States is preparing to give monkeypox vaccines to close contacts of people infected and to deploy treatments, with five cases now either confirmed or probable and the number likely to rise, officials said Monday.

There is one confirmed US infection so far, in Massachusetts, and four other cases of people with orthopoxviruses — the family that monkeypox belongs to, senior officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a press briefing.

All the suspected cases are presumed to be monkeypox, pending confirmation by testing at CDC headquarters, said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the division of high consequence pathogens and pathology.

One orthopoxvirus case is in New York, one in Florida and two in Utah. All those infected so far in the United States have been men who had a relevant travel history.

Genetic sequencing of the Massachusetts case matched that of a patient in Portugal and belonged to the West African strain, the milder of the two monkeypox strains.

Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox but is far less severe, with most people recovering within weeks.

“Right now we are hoping to maximize vaccine distribution to those that we know would benefit from it,” said McQuiston.

“Those are people who’ve had contacts with a known monkeypox patient, health care workers, very close personal contacts, and those in particular who might be at high risk for severe disease.”

– Greater risk to immunocompromised –

In terms of supply, the United States has around one thousand doses of JYNNEOS, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox “and you can expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks as the company provides more doses to us,” said McQuiston.

It also has around 100 million doses of an older generation vaccine, ACAM2000.

Both use live viruses but only JYNNEOS is non-replicating, making it the safer option, said McQuiston.

People who are immunocompromised or have particular skin conditions, including eczema, are at greater risk, added John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist.

Transmission of monkeypox occurs through close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active rash, or through respiratory droplets in someone who has lesions in their mouth and is around another person for an extended period of time.

The virus causes a rash, with skin lesions focused on certain areas of the body, or spread more widely. In some cases, during early stages, a rash can start on the genital or perianal areas.

While scientists are concerned that the growing number of cases worldwide may potentially indicate a new type of transmission, so far there is no hard evidence to back that theory, said McQuiston.

Instead, the uptick in cases might be linked to specific spreader events, such as recent raves in Europe that might explain the higher prevalence among gay and bisexual men.

But, warned Brooks, “by no means is the current risk of exposure to monkeypox exclusive to the gay and bisexual community.”

The CDC is also developing treatment guidance to allow the deployment of antivirals tecovirimat and brincidofovir, both of which are licensed for smallpox.

Djokovic Makes Easy Winning Return To Grand Slams

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after winning against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the end of their their men’s singles match on day two of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on May 23, 2022. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

 

Defending champion Novak Djokovic cruised into the second of the French Open on Monday as the world number one returned to Grand Slam tennis for the first time this year.

Djokovic thumped 99th-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.

The top-seeded Serb, who turned 35 on Sunday, is playing his first major since losing the US Open final last September.

His attempt to defend his Australian Open title in January ended in chaos and controversy when he was deported from Melbourne for refusing to get vaccinated.

On Monday, in a chilly and damp Paris, Djokovic took his record in first round matches at Roland Garros to 18-0 with his win over the 27-year-old Nishioka after converting eight of 18 break points.

Djokovic will next meet either Slovakia’s Alex Molcan or Federico Coria of Argentina.

Molcan, the runner-up in Lyon at the weekend, is coached by Marian Vajda — Djokovic’s former long-time coach.

Algeria President Sacks Central Bank Chief

Abdelmadjid Tebboune

 

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Monday sacked central bank chief Rostom Fadli, in office for less than two years, the presidency announced without giving any further explanation.

Tebboune “on Monday ended the functions of the Governor of the Bank of Algeria, Mr. Rostom Fadli, and appointed Mr. Salah Eddine Taleb to replace him,” it said in a statement.

Fadli had taken office in June 2020 as interim head of the central bank of Africa’s fourth-biggest economy, later being confirmed in the role.

READ ALSO: Adesina Says Africa Will ‘Feed Itself With Pride’ As AfDB Approves $1.5bn For Food Crisis

Algeria is a rentier economy dependent on oil exports for 90 percent of its foreign income, and therefore vulnerable to price movements.

Despite seeing those revenues explode in recent months with the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the North African country has also been hit hard by concurrent price hikes on its vital wheat imports.

AFP

JUST IN: Again, APC adjusts timetable for NASS, gov primaries

The All Progressives Congress for the umpteenth time has revised the timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship, State House of Assembly, Senate, and House of Representatives primary elections. The development came a day after the National Working Committee postponed the screening of the presidential aspirants. The revised timetable was announced by the National…

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Court Orders CBN, NDIC To Pay Bank Workers N5.7bn

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to pay over N5.7bn terminal benefits to over 1,000 bank workers affected by the re-capitalisation exercise of 2006.

The money is to be paid within three months from the date of judgment failing which it will attract 10 percent interest until liquidated.

Justice Paul Bassi made the order while delivering judgment on Monday in the case filed by 1,116 claimants who had approached the court since 2018.

READ ALSO: [2023 Presidency] Emefiele Withdraws Suit Against INEC, AGF

The court also ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay another N10m as general damages to the claimants.

Shouts of joy

Shouts of joy emanated from the representatives of the bank workers after the court delivered judgment in their favour.

It’s a battle they’ve fought since the consolidation exercise of 2006 which saw banks recapitalised from N2bn to N25bn.

Their banks did not meet the recapitalization requirements and their banking licenses were revoked by the CBN which appointed the NDIC as the liquidator.

The bank workers then sued the two organisations demanding the payment of their terminal benefits.

The two defendants raised several objections, insisting among other things they were not the employers of the workers and the suit disclosed no cause of action against them.

In his judgment, Justice Bassi dismissed the preliminary objections of the defendants and held while they may have acted in the general good by raising the capital base of banks in the country, it should not be done at the expense of the former employees.

By revoking the banking licenses of the non-consolidated banks, the defendants interfered with the employment contracts of the bank workers, a contract which would ordinarily have run its natural course with the claimants paid their benefits at the end.

The court then ordered the CBN and the NDIC to pay the workers within three months from the date of judgment failing which which it will attract 10 percent interest until liquidated.

Adesina Says Africa Will ‘Feed Itself With Pride’ As AfDB Approves $1.5bn For Food Crisis

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, speaks at the African Development Bank’s Annual meeting in Accra, Ghana, on May 23, 2022.
Nipah Dennis / AFP

 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $1.5 billion emergency programme to alleviate the impact of worsening food insecurity due to the Ukraine war, its director said on Monday.

About 20 million farmers on the continent will benefit from the fund as Africa faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tonnes of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from Russia and Ukraine.

“The US$1.5 billion…. will be used to support African countries to produce food and do so rapidly,” AfDB’s Group President Akinwumi Adesina told the media ahead of annual general meetings in Ghana’s capital Accra.

READ ALSO: I Won’t Run For President –AfDB’s Adesina

The programme aims to help produce 38 million tonnes of food. This will consist of 11 million tonnes of wheat, 18 million tonnes of maize, six million  tonnes of rice and 2.5 million tonnes of soya beans.

“Food aid cannot feed Africa. Africa does not need bowls in hand. Africa needs seeds in the ground, and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally,” Adesina said.

“Africa will feed itself with pride for there is no dignity in begging for food.”

The programme aims to deliver seeds, fertiliser and services to farmers and support post-harvest management, the AfDB said in a statement. It will also provide financing and credit guarantees for large-scale supply of fertilizer.

According to an AfDB statement, the food production programme “is an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to support smallholder farmers in filling the food shortfall.”

The price of wheat has soared in Africa by over 45 percent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Fertiliser prices have gone up by 300 percent and the continent faces a fertiliser shortage of two million tonnes.

Many African countries have already seen price hikes in bread and other food items, worsened by the rise in fuel for transport.

“If this deficit is not made up, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 percent and the continent could lose over US$11 billion in food production value,” the AfDB said.

PDP primary: Two Ondo senators fail to secure return tickets

Two sitting senators from Ondo State, Ayo Akinyelure, and Nicholas Tofowomo, have lost their bid to return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly. They lost in the primary of the Peoples Democratic Party held on Monday in the state. Akinyelure is representing Ondo Central Senatorial District while Tofowomo represents Ondo South Senatorial District….

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Cross River lawmaker clinches Reps ticket sixth time

The member representing the Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Apostle Essien Ayi, has clinched the ticket for the sixth time as the Peoples Democratic Party standard-bearer in next year’s election. He got the ticket in the just concluded primary in Cross River State where he won by 57 votes to defeat…

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Policeman killed, eight arrested as violence rocks Cross River PDP primary

Eight suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of a policeman during the House of Representatives primary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Obudu, Cross River State. The policeman was identified as Martins Mbang. The State Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident on Monday evening. “One of our…

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Flights Resume At Kaduna Airport – Two Months After Bandits Attack

A file photo of the Kaduna International Airport.

 

Commercial flights resumed on Monday at the Kaduna International Airport two months after it was attacked by bandits.

The bandits had on March 26 launched an attempted invasion of the facility, killing a private security guard attached to the Nigerian Airspace management Agency near the outer perimeter fence.

They were however repelled by security forces attached to the airport.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s GDP Records 3.11% Growth In First Quarter

Following the attack, commercial airlines plying the route suspended their flights, seeking improved security.

It appears efforts have been made to allay fears of airline operators as the first commercial flight since the incident landed at the airport at exactly 8am on Monday morning.

Passengers expressed delight over the resumption of services.