Trouble In Vaccine Land: The Wiliness Of South Africa’s Coronavirus Variant

It began as a shudder through the scientific and public health establishments.  A new variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 had been found, mutating in South African climes, potentially outwitting human responses to it.  Vaccines such as Oxford-AstraZeneca’s would have to be brushed up.  Rollouts would have to be reconsidered.

The South African variant has been given a few designations: 501Y.V2 or B.1.351.  Within it lies a mutation –N501Y – which suggests a greater degree of contagiousness.  Another, E484k, might bypass the human immune system, thereby blunting the effectiveness of the vaccines.

A study on the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine against N501Y and E484k mutations found that the vaccine did still work, but with less efficacy.  The authors of the study treaded carefully, making it clear that the study had made assumptions about levels of neutralisation.  The biological functions of N501Y and other mutations also remained “to be defined for viral replication, pathogenesis, and/or transmission in animal models.”

The concern for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is graver, given that it was deemed the great hope for developing countries, with lower pricing and less demanding conditions for storage.  Preliminary, and yet to be peer-reviewed research of some 2,000 individuals, has found the vaccine to have less impressive protections (under 25%) against mild-to-moderate illness caused by the 501Y.V2 variant.

The same cannot be said about protecting against severe COVID-19, an open point given that those recruited in the study were generally healthy, young and sporting only mild symptoms.  None required hospitalisation.  Such qualifications were seized upon by World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  “Given the limited sample size and the younger, healthier profile of the participants it is important to determine whether or not the vaccine remains effective in preventing more severe illness.”

South Africa’s Coronavirus Variant
A patient with the Covid-19 breaths in oxygen in the Covid-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on December 29, 2020

Despite this not entirely gloomy picture, politicians in South Africa have been bitten by fear.  As the country most affected on the African continent, doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are being traded in favour of Johnson & Johnson shots.  The latter vaccine has also been shown in trials to be less effective in combating the mild aspect of 501.V2 (57%) though does a much better job of combating instances of severe disease (85%).

The announcement of this policy shift came from the Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on February 10: “Given the outcome of the efficacy studies [the government] will continue with the planned phase one vaccination using the Johnson & Johnson vaccines instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

This would have delighted the J&J crew, given that the one-shot vaccine has only been approved for use in studies in South Africa and has yet to be officially authorised for general use in any country.  Applications for emergency use from South Africa’s regulatory authority and the US Food and Drug Administration have been made.   Not to worry, claimed Mkhize: the vaccine had been tested on 44,000 people so far; safety for intending recipients was assured.

The health minister was also keen to give the impression of business.  “Our scientists are continuing to evaluate other [vaccine] candidates and we are simultaneously engaging manufacturers.  We are in advanced stages of evaluating and engaging the manufacturers of the Sputnik V candidate.  Engagements with Sinopharm continue, with an offer already made by China for vaccines which are being considered.”

The move has not convinced certain health practitioners.  Sipho Dinabantu of Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is worried that “that trust we had in the government to do a proper vaccination program” has evaporated.  “We were given assurances that it was ready to go but now it has been put on hold.  It makes me wonder a lot about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has yet to be approved.”

The risk of waste is a serious one.  A million Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have been procured from the Serum Institute of India.  These are due to expire at the end of April.  Shabir Madhi of the University of Witwatersrand, the lead investigator of the South African trials of that vaccine, finds it rather daft that these would not be used, despite acknowledging its weaknesses.  “It doesn’t make any sense to have 1 million doses of vaccine available to us known to be safe and to not start distributing it at least for high-risk groups.”  The country’s elderly and those with comorbidities could receive those shots.

Mkhize hopes that these might be sold or swapped depending on what the Ministerial Advisory Committee suggests.  Countries were already making inquiries.  But there are concerns that expired vaccines might also find their way into the program.  We only have Mkhize’s assurance that the vaccines had not expired, and would not be administered if they had.

Confidence in public health authorities has again received a bruising, though the South African government has its defenders.  Professor Willem Hanekom, director of the Africa Health Institute, was all praise at the decision to embrace the J&J option.  “We’ve never been in such a situation. Every day things change, and we need to adapt to these changes.”  The trend of treating whole populations as guinea pigs in a grand public health experiment continues.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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  1. The Virus will kill a few but the INCURABLE MUTANT has hit South Africa and it is the ZGUPTA

    South Africa is facing unprecedented riots and is hurtling to Civil war. ZUMA is in jail and has still not said a word against the Gupta Misthan Bhandars,who landed him there.


    The Gupta Mishtan Bhandar of India have completely corrupted and debauched the South African Polity and Bureaucracy.

    This is a tool that these Indian Bania vermin, have learnt from India and Indians !

    What have Indians done in Africa ? They 1st downgrade that nation to that of India – and then, they replicate their scams in Africa,with the IBM, id.est., Indian Best Practice Model !

    In India,there is a PMLA which is a draconian law – that states that,if you receive money laundered funds of Rs 1,then all your assets wherein that money has specifically gone,is FROZEN and gone !

    Such a draconian law does not exist anywhere in Africa !

    So come in the Indian Banias

    The matrix OF THE MONEY LAUNDERING USED BY THE GUPTA MISTHAN BHANDAR IN SOUTH AFRICA, is the same 1, that they use in India !

    There is a chain of entities A to Z in India and Abroad

    1st the money is laundered in the nation from A to Z.With 26 alphabets, 26 companies,and each having 3 subsidiaries,5 associates and 2 JVs (as the consolidation rules vary).Each of the 2 entities above will have different auditors,who are basically competing with each other for statutory, tax, secretarial and other compliance audits.

    Money comes into each alphabet,from multiple sources and is mixed. Mixture is key,in making the legit and illegal cash inflow, completely fungible. The mixing and has to be carefully planned,as it has to sound and appear to be a sound business judgement and each cash flow has to be backed by a supply chain or investment transaction.THIS IS THE KEY STEP,AS FUNGIBILITY means that on principles of NATURAL JUSTICE you cannot FREEZE THE ACCOUNT OF A LEGITIMATE SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNER,Just because Party A,who received money from that legit supply chain partner,violated some laws (which have no connection to that legit transaction).

    But of course, that LEGIT SUPPLY CHAIN PARTNER,is NOT LEGIT,BUT the SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSACTION IS,ON PAPER, LEGIT.What that means,is that A has sold diamond jewellery to Mr Mars,and there is an Invoice and AWB and load port customs checked the diamonds,and Mars got it and sold it to Mr Pluto and then Mr Nebula – and then the diamonds came back to A ! This is a LEGIT trade transaction,but it it NOT ! At each stage,the diamonds are marked up and they are also FUNGIBLE AS THE DIAMONDS SOLD BY A are sold in SPLINTERS (on paper) to several buyers at each stage – but at the end – Mr A gets it all back !

    At each stage of MARK UPS there are profits,which are creatively tax exempt,and on those profits (which are actually not legit – but appear in the books),bank loans are taken – and then,when the loan amounts are close to say a Billion USD – it is time to retire (VAMOOZE AND SNOOZE)!

    Each such transaction of cash inflow and outflow,is based on some supply chain,or investment transaction and this then,is made to INTERSECT with cross border transactions,in nations,which have limited info sharing and extradition treaties,and severe restrictions on penetrating bank secrecy,and which need an unadulterated trail of illegality of funds,to be proven with the original sin,of the crime (which is obviated by the perpetual mixing,in each transaction in entities from A to Z,within the nation of crime and abroad).

    Even in the best case,it will take decades to unravel,and the key players,who signed the papers (or ostensibly signed,the papers),will be dead – and that is the best EVASION,of the chain of crime.dindooohindoo

    Now Africans need to ask – Y are Indians in Africa ?

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