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Weekly News 27 September 2020

Health minister to reconfigure Covid advisory team

Business Day 27 September 2020 - Health minister Zweli Mkhize has disbanded the government’s scientific advisory committee on the coronavirus

Members of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19 were advised by letter last week that the group is being reconfigured, Francois Venter of the University of the Witwatersrand, and Glenda Gray, CEO of the SA Medical Research Council, confirmed by text message on Saturday. 


Experimental Chinese vaccine creates antibodies for more than six months

Business Day 25 September 2020 - The Chinese CDC, without referring to which vaccine candidate was used, puts Chinese developers neck and neck with those in the We

The amount of Covid-19 antibodies in trial subjects who received China’s experimental vaccines remained high six months after the first shots, a top Chinese scientist has said, projecting confidence that the country will be among the first to produce effective inoculation against the coronavirus. 

What makes Covid life-threatening for some people?


Business Day 25 September 2020 - Geneticists reveal lack of a substance calledinterferon in Covid-19 infections

The common thread in the research is the lack of a substance called interferon that helps orchestrate the body’s defence against viral pathogens and can be infused to treat conditions such as infectious hepatitis. Now, increasing evidence suggests that a significant minority of Covid-19 patients get very ill because of an impaired interferon response.


Fewer than 2‚500 active Covid-19 cases in Western Cape

Business Day 23 September 2020 - In Khayelitsha‚ once Cape Town's biggest Covid-19 headache‚ per capita active infections are down to 22 per 100‚000

At the height of the provincial outbreak‚ at the beginning of July‚ there were more than 17‚600 active cases and nearly 1‚900 people in hospital. These figures were down to 2‚492  active cases and just more than 600 in hospital on Wednesday‚ meaning active infections in the province stood at 35.3 per 100‚000 people. 


Healthcare corruption trends laid barein ACT report

Medical Brief 23  September 2020 - “Deeply troubling” trends of corruption within the healthcare sector are revealed in the latest edition of the Analysis of Corruption Trends (ACT) report released this week.

Bribery, brutality and abuse of power are some of the key trends uncovered within the police service in the latest analysis, notes TimesLIVE. According to Melusi Ncala, the primary researcher for the report, it also illustrated that the will of the public to expose the corrupt and seek consequences remained strong during the coronavirus pandemic.


‘Strong evidence’ that BCG does not protect against COVID-19

Medical Brief 23 September 2020 - An analysis of Swedish public health data provides “strong evidence” that receiving the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis at birth does not have a protective effect against COVID-19 among middle-aged individuals.

“Our study shows that this correlation is probably not due to the BCG vaccination, but rather to some omitted variable,” explained Clément de Chaisemartin. “This raises the question as to what this omitted variable is, because if it is something that policymakers can act upon, then maybe we would have something actionable against COVID-19.”


Facial masking may be generating immunity — NEJM commentary

Medical Brief 23 September 2020 - Face masks might be helping reduce the severity of disease and ensuring that a greater proportion of new COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic.

Universal mask-wearing could become a form of variolation (inoculation) that would generate immunity and “thereby slow the spread of the virus in the US and elsewhere” as the world awaits a vaccine.