The “AstraZeneca” vaccine, which was eagerly awaited by Mozambique and other African countries in combating the spread of Coviod-19, is ineffective for the South African variant of the virus, which is spreading in the country. In fact, it is the same vaccine that Mozambique plans to buy, in the coming days, to prevent the disease. South Africa interrupted the vaccination process and uses other variants, which for Mozambique are still far from reach.
The announcement about the postponement of vaccination with “AstraZeneca” in South Africa was made Sunday (07 February) due to the lack of effectiveness against the variant of the new coronavirus 501Y.V2, information received as a “cold water” in Mozambique it was also on the line of advancement for vaccination with this drug that has just been “sabotaged” by this infamous Covid-19 that shows itself in constant metamorphosis.
According to the Mozambican Minister of Health, last January, 70% of the positive samples of Covid-19 in Mozambique in December were already constituted by the new variant that broke out in South Africa.
On Monday (February 8), the postponement was viewed with fear by the Deputy Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe. “We received this unpleasant information, because it was one of those vaccines that most African countries” plans to use, as it is easier to conserve, he said.
It is also the bet “of the Covax mechanism, supported by the World Health Organization and the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), which are the main financiers in African countries”, he added.
“This is a big bucket of cold water, but we are sure that something will be done” by the pharmaceutical companies, as has been the case so far, believes Benigna Matsinhe.
While the other vaccines require negative temperatures, some extremely low, AstraZeneca’s can be kept between two to eight degrees, within the logistical capacity of Mozambique, he noted.
Mozambique is moving towards the threshold of 500 deaths and the transposition of 45,000 infections, with the proviso that around 61% of infected people have so far been recovered.
South African arguments
According to the South African press, the The South African government has suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, after scientists have discovered that it is not effective for the South African variant of Covid-19.
One million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, which arrived in South Africa last week, are at risk of being discarded. Preliminary studies show that the vaccine in question does not prevent mild or moderate symptoms of the South African variant of the disease, which currently accounts for 90% of positive cases in that country.
Scientist and Professor Shabir Madi, quoted in the press, said that, consistently, laboratories have found that “many vaccine-induced antibodies were not really active against the variant that is currently circulating in South Africa, the b1351 variant.”
“We saw a significant drop in terms of the ability of the antibody-inducing vaccine to neutralize activities of this virus when tested in the laboratory. So, obviously this is a sufficient reason for concern that the vaccine may not do what we set out to achieve, ”said Shabir Madi.
Based on the studies carried out, which involved about two thousand patients with an average age of 31 years, the South African government decided to suspend the vaccination of Health workers. In this way, the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine is now dependent on new scientific results. (Essay)