12 June 2021

• The US FDA suspended a promised delivery of ingredients for J & J’s coronavirus vaccines to South Africa while it reviews whether they are fit to use, while South Africa’s regulators are determining whether to use already-packaged vaccines from Aspen Pharmaceuticals’s facility in Gqebherha (formerly Port Elizabeth), which were made with ingredients from the same source. Source

• The Health Ministry of Paraguay’s website has a database with the names of people who have been vaccinated, where they were vaccinated, which vaccine they got, and the number of doses they have received. Deputy Health Minister Lida Sosa described it as “…a tool for citizen oversight.” Indeed, software engineer Valentin Sanchez found hundreds of names on the list, one of which led to a senator’s resignation and 88 that were referred to the public prosecutor’s office; he said “Because we have so few vaccines and people don’t trust the process the only way you can sort of give them some confidence is through this list. People will use their influence if they can to get vaccinated. We are talking about a life-or-death situation.” Source 

• National Geographic publishes an overview of research on a link between COVID-19 and new-onset diabetes, noting that pancreatic beta cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 stop producing insulin (either because they self-destruct or are converted into a different type of cell), leading to Type 1 diabetes. The authors mention the need for research on potential beta-cell preserving therapies, the need for vaccination – and that people with risk factors for diabetes or pre-diabetes who get COVID-19 should be on the lookout for hyperglycemia  symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss and blurred vision. Source

• Although the G7’s coronavirus vaccine donation is welcome, campaigners noted its shortcomings. Antonio Guterres, head of the United Nations, said more vaccines were needed in developing countries to stop the virus from mutating into a vaccine-resistant form, and that “We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, and we are still far from getting that.” Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister, described it more like “passing round the begging bowl” than a real solution, saying “It’s a catastrophic failure if we can’t go away in the next week or two … with a plan that actually rids the world of COVID now we’ve got a vaccine.” Source

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