Malawi reviewing position on AstraZeneca vaccine over new Covid variant

Government is reviewing whether to proceed with the planned rollout of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a research showed it offered minimal protection against mild infection from a new variant spreading in the country from South Africa blamed for the surge in cases.

Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine would still prevent serious illness or death.

South Africa announced on Monday its pause after researchers from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford found that the AstraZeneca vaccine provided only minimal protection against mild or moderate infection from the B.1.351 variant, now the dominant form of the virus in that country.

President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed that the B.1.351 variant from South Africa is now prevailing in Malawi as its citizens are returning from Rainbow Nation in busloads.

The new variant has been linked to a second wave of infections in Malawi with the arrival of about 1 000 Malawians from South Africa.

However, Chakwera said the vaccine  was the big hope for Malawi as it is cheap and easy to store and transport.

Chakwera said  the strategy of limiting new infections offers the best chance against the disease.

He said the vaccine has an efficacy of between 60% to 65% efficacy which was still “high enough to save lives.”

Said Chakwera: “The hardship of preventing new infections is better than the hardship of treating them.”.

Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr John Phuka said they will review the vaccine plan before roll out.

Britain and Australia urged calm, citing evidence that the vaccines prevented grave illness and death, while AstraZeneca said it believed its vaccine could protect against severe disease.

The B.1.351 variant dominant in South Africa, also known as 20I/501Y.V2, is also circulating in at least 40 other countries, including the United States. Other major variants include one first found in Britain, known as 20I/501Y.V1, and one found in Brazil known as P.1.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said efforts were under way to develop a new generation of booster shot vaccines that will allow protection against emerging variants.

“This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change,” Gilbert said in quotes reported by Reuters.

Chakwera, just six months in office, lost two Cabinet ministers to Covid-19  and four legislators amid a surge that led him to declare a state of national disaster in all of Malawi’s 28 districts.

Malawi, which reported its first Covid-19 cases on April 2 2020, has so far confirmed 27,195 coronavirus cases and 856 deaths according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The previous administration planned a 21-day national lockdown from midnight April 18 to midnight May 9 as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of Covid-19. However, the lockdown was foiled by a court order obtained by comes concerned citizens and civil society organisations.

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John chidongo
26 days ago

Ndipo mipangapo review yanji pakuti mwapanga kale chiganizo choti mupitirizabe ku wa Baya . Amalawi. Ngati ku rsa anatenga one week kupanga review inu mwapanga liti. Gulani ya Joson and jonson akugula anzanuyu ndalama mwalandira ma donation ambiri mbiri muzitani nazo. Ku ma virologist ma immunologists angati kumeneko kuti muzitimupanga review. Labotary yake ndi yiti. Dikirani gwiritsani ma resultsaku RSA. Kuti mankhala sa effective basi. Koma inu mugo panga creatical thinking kuti mupereke kapena ayi. Kutengeranso ndi ku Rsa.

John chidongo
26 days ago

Government imene ikuonikanso kapena covid task force. Mmmmh koma Boma la mbuli ili? Ndi Task force imene igwire ntchito pamene. Ndikubwera ndikudzayambitsa radio station yanga. Talk radio station. Yopanga anthu adzipanga criticized zonse zolakwika ndi aboma kuti aliyense adzidzamva ndikuyika manganizo ake pa za Mziko lanthu. Osati Zodiac inalowa ndale. Kulibe ma research ku Malawi mudikire ma results akunowa basi. Musanamizepo anthu apa. Chinthu zingakongole or chitachoka kuja ngati chili chakupha tayani. Osati muti mukuononga potaya osachita mtima nthato. Ndiponso ndi zaulere. Apereka zina.

Samba
Samba
26 days ago

Tapangana kafufuku wozama pamenepa. Osati zija za ma ARV mpaka munthu kusintha nazo nkhope

Ndafera Nkhande
Ndafera Nkhande
26 days ago

Zoona tibayidwe basi.Kuchira ndi chikhupiliro chimene munthu uli nacho Just believe and it will be as your heart says.

BigMan
BigMan
26 days ago

Umphawi.

Maneno
26 days ago

Tibayeni basi as long it’s ok on severe conditions, let’s save those dying.

Quixote
Quixote
26 days ago

This is how it ends basi

bentby
26 days ago

astrazaneca is good for malawians, ku jozi anthu wawo ndioola kale, 50% ali ndi HIV, 30 % ali ndi TB. sono pamenepo vaccine angagwire ntchito?

Che Pichesi
Che Pichesi
26 days ago

Dza fake kuno ayi. Get the Johnson and Johnson one. 85 %. Recover the K6.2 billion and buy this vaccine.

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