30 July 2021

• After announcing that COViD-19  deaths in Africa have increased by 80 percent over the last month, WHO Director-General Dr  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  said, “Many African countries have prepared well to roll out vaccines, but the vaccines have not arrived,” He called for $7.7 billion to fund COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines – and more money for COVAX. “The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it,” he said. “It is in our hands.” Source

• Associated Press reports that residents and human rights activists in Myanmar are saying that its military government is using the pandemic to consolidate their power and crush the opposition. Yanghee Lee, the U.N.’s former Myanmar human rights expert and a founding member of the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, said that the government “…stopped distributing personal protection equipment and masks, and they will not let civilians who they suspect are supporting the democracy movement be treated in hospitals, and they’re arresting doctors who support the civil disobedience movement …The military is weaponizing COVID.” Myanmar has the highest per capita death rate from COVID-19 in Southeast Asia, although cases and deaths are considered drastically undercounted. Source 

• Israel announces that it will offer third “booster” doses of coronavirus vaccines to people over age 60. Source 

• Japan has expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to cover four more areas after record-breaking coronavirus spikes. Cases in Tokyo have doubled since last week, although officials say the surge is not related to the Olympic games. Source

• The first domestically manufactured coronavirus vaccines will be available in South Africa as soon as the drug substance arrives from Europe. The vaccines will be distributed throughout the country and made available to the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team/African Union platform. Source                                     

• Delays in delivering Sputnik V have dampened Russia’s vaccine diplomacy efforts in Guatemala, which is replacing eight million doses of the Russian vaccine with others; in Brazil, which now does not need the 10 million doses it ordered, and in Argentina, which did not receive second doses (which are formulated differently than first doses) within the recommended time to administer them. Second doses have also been delayed in India, where domestic producers have entered agreements to manufacture the vaccine. A spokesperson from the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, said that the delays in international Sputnik supplies resulted from the need to ramp up domestic vaccinations. But Samuel Ramani, a tutor of politics and international relations at Oxford University, said that developers in Russia “…designed their export plans around local production that vastly overestimated local capacity.” Source

• In the US, outbreaks of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) usually occur in the wintertime – and can cause severe illness in infants and elderly people. But cases across the country have been increasing since April, especially among children who were isolated for long periods during the pandemic to interact more with peers at school, camps and playgrounds – and hospitals are filling with young, unvaccinated RSV patients. Source

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service tested white-tailed deer in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania because they are susceptible to coronaviruses. Overall, a third had antibodies- indicating that they had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, although researchers are not sure how they encountered it. Source

• Small, a German scientific journal, deleted a paragraph from a paper with information about genetic sequences from Covid-19 patient samples from Wuhan, China. The deletion – which the journal has since corrected – led to a mistake: the sequences were not uploaded a National Institutes of Health database. After virologist Jesse Bloom,noticed that the sequences were missing, he wrote a report saying that it “seems likely that the sequences were deleted to obscure their existence.” Source

• Emergent Biosolutions, the company that ruined 75 million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine, has received inquiries and subpoenas from the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the attorneys general of Maryland and New York and committees in both houses of Congress – just a day after federal regulators allowed it to reopen its manufacturing facilities. The company, which received a $628 million government contract to produce the AstraZeneca and J & J vaccines is also facing a House committee investigation and multiple lawsuits from its shareholders. Source 

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