The European Commission has struck deals with drug makers Roche (ROG.S) and Merck KGaA (MRCG.DE) to secure supplies of experimental treatments for COVID-19, a Commission source told Reuters on Wednesday.
The deals cover Roche’s arthritis medicine RoActemra and Merck’s multiple sclerosis drug Rebif, both seen as potential treatments for COVID-19, and will secure supplies to any of the 27 EU member states willing to buy them, the source said.
The source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic did not disclose the terms of the deals.
Roche, Merck and a Commission spokeswoman were not immediately available for comment.
The deals follow requests from EU states in May to acquire the two drugs and come as governments around the world jostle for access to potential therapies and vaccines against COVID-19, even before their efficacy is proved.
Roche is doing a late-stage, 330-patient trial of Actemra, known as RoActemra in some markets, in COVID-19 patents after the anti-inflammatory drug used against rheumatoid arthritis was deployed in China in patients suffering from a severe immune system reaction.
The medicine has also been tested on COVID-19 patients in combination with Gilead’s (GILD.O) antiviral remdesivir, the only drug so far authorised by the EU for use against COVID-19.
In early June, an Italian trial of Actemra in patients with early-stage COVID-19 showed it failed to help them.
Rebif was developed by Swiss biotech firm Serono before Merck bought the company.
Both drugs target proteins in the body associated with inflammation, and there is some hope they may help severely ill COVID-19 patients suffering from a so-called cytokine storm, an immune system reaction that in can lead to organ failure.
The companies said in letters to the Commission that they could meet demand from EU countries, the source said, declining to name the EU states that had expressed interest in the drugs.
EU countries will now have to agree with the companies on the supplies needed, the source added.
Brussels is also in talks with Gilead to obtain doses of remdesivir for member states and boost its production capacity.
It also wants to reserve supplies of vaccines being developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Sanofi (SASY.PA).
Concerns over remdesivir’s availability were ignited after Gilead pledged almost all its output to the United States
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria – NCDC Coronavirus Records
COVID-19: FCT leads with 130 cases, as Nigeria records 386 new infections
August 2, 2020 6:14 am By Abujah Racheal
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) led the pack on Saturday with 130 Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases as the country recorded 386 new infection in the country.
Data from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC ) showed that the cases were spread across 18 states and the FCT.
The NCDC said that FCT topped the list for the of states with higher daily cases of COVID-19 for the third time consecutively with 130, while Lagos, the epicentre of the virus, reported 65.
Other states with new cases were Ondo, 37, Osun, 29, Plateau, 23, Rivers, 15, Enugu, 14, Nasarawa, 12, Bayelsa, 11, Ebonyi, 11, Ekiti, 9, Oyo 8, Edo, 8, Abia, 6, Ogun, 3, Katsina, 3, Imo 1 and Adamawa 1.
The health agency said that Nigeria had now successfully treated 20,087 COVID-19 cases following the discharge of 522 additional patients in the last 24 hours.
The health agency noted that four more persons have died from the disease.
According to the NCDC, till date, a total of 43,537 cases of the virus have been confirmed, 20,087 cases discharged and 883 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The NCDC noted that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) activated at Level 3 would continue to coordinate the national response activities across the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria conducted 145,454 tests in July and recorded 17,457 positive cases during the same period.
It said compared to June, the figures represented 95 per cent increase in testing numbers and 12 per cent increase in positive cases.
”It is good news that Nigeria significantly stepped up testing in July. The 95 per cent increase in testing in July compared to June only resulted in 12 per cent increase in positive cases.
”June, 74,580 tests, 15,532 positive cases. July, 145,454 tests, 17,457 positive cases. July also recorded one of the lowest monthly test positivity to date.
”July test positivity is 12 per cent . June test positivity is 21 per cent. May test positivity is 17 per cent. July also records 51 per cent of cumulative test in the country,” it said.
The Agency said that states that had made this possible by their daily increase in testing were, Kano, Plateau, Oyo, Lagos, FCT and Rivers States in July. (NAN)
COVID-19: LASG closes Eti-Osa Isolation Centre
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, says the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre has been closed down, with effect from Friday night.
Sanwo-Olu announced the closure at Lagos House, Marina, during the 17th update on the management of coronavirus in the state.
The governor said that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre – Indo-Centre in Anthony area, which would be soon be inaugurated.
“Over the last four, five months, we have built excess capacity centre, but that is only the way to go, you cannot over-prepare.
“We have got to a stage where we need to balance the economics of this and which of these facilities do we need to keep running.
“Some of them now are having less than 20 per cent of occupancy.
“This is why we reach a conclusion to shut Eti-Osa facility and another one in Lekki,’’ the governor said.
He explained that the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Yaba “is now also gradually being reverted back to its former status as a hospital to cater to all forms of infectious diseases’’.
Sanwo-Olu said that in June, the government further expanded COVID-19 testing capacity in Lagos with the accreditation of seven private laboratories.
According to him, in the week ended July 26, the government successfully tested close to 9,000 samples in Lagos State, across the public and private sector laboratories.
He said that it showed a 50 per cent increase from the approximately 6,000 samples tested in each of the preceding two weeks.
The governor said that the increase in testing would lead to an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of the virus in the state.
According to him, this is a welcome development, since the government’s capacity to contain the pandemic depends significantly on how successful it is in identifying all the existing cases.
“I must, however, also mention that we have seen a general decrease in positivity rates in Lagos State over the past two weeks, which, combined with the increase in testing numbers, paints a very encouraging picture of the outcome of our response strategy.
“We will continue to fine-tune our efforts and strategies to build on our successes and close any existing gaps.
“It has now been five months since the first case of coronavirus was recorded in Nigeria.
“As at July 31, Lagos state has had a total of 15,150 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 10,835 persons who have recovered and discharged.
“We have sadly lost 194 persons to the virus.
“This leaves us with 1,813 active cases in community and 96 under management across various isolation centres in the state,’’ he said.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Gov Fayemi recovers from COVID-19 after 11 days in isolation
by Ariwodola Idowu
Ado Ekiti, Aug 01, 2020, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has recovered from COVID-19, after 11 days in isolation.
Fayemi , in the early hours of Saturday confirmed this new development on his verified Twitter handle.
The governor thanked God and his numerous well wishers across the globe for his recovery for their prayers and support.
NAN reports that he announced that he had been infected with the virus 11 days ago and consequently proceeded on self isolation.,
Shortly after then, State Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation, Muyiwa Olumilua, announced in a statement, that wife of the Governor, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, his family and members of the state cabinet had undergone the COVID-19 tests to determine their status.
State Health Commissioner, Dr Mijisola Yaya-Kolade followed suit few days later to confirm that the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Wale Fapohunda and some unnamed members if the state cabinet had also tested positive.
NAN reports that Fayemi, while breaking the latest news on his Twitter handle, on Saturday, had tweeted thus: “After 11 days in isolation, I received news that my COVID 19 repeat test came back negative.
“My sincere gratitude goes to God Almighty, my family, my medical team and all well wishers for the prayers and solidarity.
“We must continue to do all we can to tackle the pandemic”.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Eid-el-Kabir: Ex-Lagos lawmaker tasks leaders on sacrifices
Mr Dipo Olorunrinu, a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Friday urged Nigerian leaders to make more sacrifices for the masses.
In a message to mark 2020 Eid-el-Kabir, Olorunrinu, who represented Amuwo-Odofin Constituency I in the Eight Lagos Assembly, said that Eid-el-Kabir signified sacrifice and selflessness.
The lawmaker said that sacrifices were necessary for national unity and progress.
According to him, except Nigerians, especially leaders, resolve to embrace the virtues of sacrifice and selflessness, the dream of the founding fathers of the nation will not be achieved.
Olorunrinu said: “As we celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, let us reflect on the lesson of sacrifice which Eid-el Kabir signifies, and use the opportunity to pray for these virtues to be demonstrated by Nigerians.
“The year’s Sallah is a clarion call for Nigerians to do more on sacrifice, compassion, selflessness and sincere commitment to work for the unity and progress of this country.
“Considering what the nation is going through, there is the need for more selfless services to God and humanity. This season should go beyond merriment and fun-making. Let us sacrifice more for the poor,” he said.
According to him, Nigerians should renew their commitment to live together, ensure good neighbourliness and love for the country.
“As we celebrate this festive season, let us renew our faith in our nation and work hard to make the country work. Let us pray God to restore the nation to the path of greatness.”
“This year’s Eid-el-Kabir also calls for more patience and patriotism for the good of all and the nation.
“These are virtues needed at this time for the nation to move forward.
“If we all sacrifice for one another, our society will be a good one to live in, as both the rich and the poor will be happy and safe.
“I wish my Muslim bothers and sisters in Amuwo Odofin, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole happy Eid-el-Kabir,” he said.
Olorunrinu advised Nigerians to take responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 by adhering strictly to all the precautionary measures.
He urged Muslims to celebrate responsibly and be cautious of COVID -19.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Muslims in Nigeria celebrated the 2020 Eid-el-Kabir on Friday.
Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)