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WHO Prequalifies New Dengue Vaccine

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World Health Organization (WHO) has officially prequalified a new vaccine designed to combat the mosquito-borne viral disease; dengue fever.

WHO Prequalifies New Dengue Vaccine

The WHO announced a news release, that the new vaccine for dengue has received prequalification by its organization on Friday, May 10.

The newly prequalified vaccine, TAK-003 is developed by a multinational pharmaceutical company, Takeda as the second dengue vaccine to be prequalified by WHO.

According to WHO, TAK-003 is a live-attenuated vaccine containing weakened versions of the four serotypes of the virus that cause dengue.

Dr. Rogerio Gaspar, director for Regulation and Prequalification for Dengue, WHO,  emphasized the vaccine’s potential to save lives and reduce the burden on healthcare systems in dengue-endemic areas.

“The prequalification of TAK-003 is an important step in the expansion of global access to dengue vaccines, as it is now eligible for procurement by UN agencies including UNICEF and PAHO,” Dr. Gaspar said.

“With only two dengue vaccines to date prequalified, we look forward to more vaccine developers coming forward for assessment so that we can ensure vaccines reach all communities who need it.” Dr. Gaspar added

The WHO prequalification list also includes the CYD-TDV vaccine against dengue developed by Sanofi Pasteur.

Both vaccines are tetravalent live-attenuated vaccines but differ in the extent of chimerization and the genome backbone, as well as in efficacy and safety.

Also, the CYD-TDV vaccine schedule consists of 3 doses administered 6 months apart, with an indication for individuals aged 9–45 years or 9–60 years (depending on the country-specific regulatory approvals) living in dengue-endemic countries or areas while the TAK-003 vaccine schedule consists of 2 doses administered subcutaneously with an interval of 3 months between doses.

The WHO further recommended the use of TAK-003 in children aged 6–16 years in settings with high dengue burden and transmission intensity noting that the vaccine should be administered in a 2-dose schedule with a 3-month interval between doses.

Dengue fever, a viral infection caused by the dengue virus (DENV) is a potentially deadly vector-borne disease transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito; Aedes mosquitoes. It poses a significant public health threat in many tropical and subtropical regions, affecting millions of people each year, with severe cases leading to potentially lethal complications developing from dengue infections.

According to the news release, the WHO estimates over 100-400 million cases of dengue worldwide each year with 3.8 billion people living in dengue-endemic countries, most of which are in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The largest number of dengue cases reported was in 2023 with the WHO Region of the Americas reporting 4.5 million cases and 2300 deaths. Dengue cases are likely to increase and expand geographically due to climate change and urbanization.

According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) in December 2023, a total of 71 suspected cases, 13 confirmed cases, and zero deaths have been reported in Sokoto state with the state being the only one with reported confirmed cases so far.


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Court Dismisses Base Stations Lawsuit Against ATC, MTN

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ATC Nigeria, a subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, and MTN Nigeria scored a major victory in court last week over constructing or operating base transceiver stations “within close proximity” to stations owned by IHS Towers Nigeria.

The lawsuit against the two had been filed by non-profit organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, in November 2023.

Additionally, HEDA also filed a contempt of court case against ATC Nigeria’s CEO, Errol Ambler-Smith, seeking his arrest, which HEDA later withdrew.

ATC Nigeria announced that on Friday, June 21, 2024, the court struck out HEDA’s suit against ATC Nigeria and MTN Nigeria on the grounds that it was speculative and failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

American Tower said it has “always been and remains committed to upholding” the highest standards of legal compliance and operational integrity in all its activities.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the speculative nature of HEDA’s lawsuit, and we are hopeful that this outcome will send a message to other similar potential speculative lawsuits. We appreciate the support and understanding of all our stakeholders as we continue to invest in, and provide critical infrastructure for, Nigeria’s telecommunications industry,” ATC Nigeria said in a statement.


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Airtel Boosts Sickle Cell Awareness with CrimsonBow Initiative Collaboration

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In commemoration of this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, Airtel Nigeria partnered with the CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative to host a well-attended sickle cell awareness and clinic over the weekend, at Dansol Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos.

The event which aimed at improving sickle cell education and supporting individuals living with sickle cell disease, featured free counselling for sickle cell patients, free medical testing, drug dispensing, and sensitization sessions to educate the public about the sickle cell disease.

Through the partnership, much-needed support and resources were provided to affected individuals while promoting early detection and proper management of the condition.

Commenting on the involvement of Airtel in the program, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja, emphasized Airtel’s dedication to good health as part of the telecommunication company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.

“We are proud to partner with CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative in this important endeavour, as it reflects our commitment to corporate social responsibility and improving community health outcomes. The goal of this partnership is to provide crucial support to individuals living with sickle cell disease and to help raise awareness about the condition.

“Through this partnership, we strongly hope to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, Timi Edwin, expressed gratitude to Airtel. In her remarks, “This partnership with Airtel Nigeria allows us to extend our reach and provide essential services to more individuals living with sickle cell disease. We appreciate Airtel Nigeria for their support in making this event possible.”

Airtel Nigeria has continued to reinforce its position as an organization committed to the well-being of the society through various corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Asides initiative partnerships like this to combat the challenges faced by individuals living with sickle cell disease, they continue to make strides under several CSR initiatives, contributing to the overall effort to enhance the general wellness of Nigerians.

 


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Tinubu appoints Tunji Bello as CEO of FCCPC

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President Bola Tinubu has appointed Olatunji Bello as the new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice-Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, noted that the appointment is pending confirmation by the Senate.

He said that the President expects that the new Chief Executive Officer of this important agency will ensure the holistic realization of the Commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interest and welfare of Nigerian consumers and ensuring the adoption of measures to guarantee the safety and quality of goods and services.

Bello, who is a lawyer, administrator, and renowned journalist, is the former secretary to the Lagos State Government and holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos.

“He studied Law at the same university and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002,” the statement read.

“Bello began his career in journalism at the Concord Newspapers in 1985 and held the positions of Group Political Editor; Sunday Concord Editor, and Editor, National Concord.

“He is a winner of the US Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and was appointed the Chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers in 2001.

“He also served as Commissioner for Environment under various administrations in Lagos State.


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