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Without Covid-19 jab, ‘reinfection may occur every 16 months’

reinfection

Without Covid-19 jab, ‘reinfection may occur every 16 months’

With winter approaching, scientists are warning that such reinfection could add to the burden on the NHS, some calling for the vaccination programme to be extended to all schoolchildren, including two doses for teenagers.

As Covid-19 infections surge in England, people are increasingly reporting catching Sars-CoV-2 for a second or even third time.

New analysis has suggested that unvaccinated individuals should expect to be reinfected with Covid-19 every 16 months, on average.

“If you’ve got high-level prevalence, and frequent exposure to the virus, as you have in schools, you are going to see more and more people getting reinfected despite having been double vaccinated,” said Stephen Griffin, associate professor of virology at the University of Leeds.

This time last year, the assumption was that although reinfections could occur this was relatively uncommon, with only two dozen or so recorded worldwide.

We now know that natural immunity to Sars-CoV-2 begins to dwindle over time. One Danish study suggested that the under-65s had about 80% protection for at least six months, while the over-65s had only 47% protection.

The arrival of the Delta variant has further complicated the situation.

“Certainly in the healthcare workers that we’ve been studying, there are many people who had moderately decent levels of antibodies who have been, in some cases, previously infected and double-dose vaccinated, who have gone down with symptomatic infections,” said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London.

“I think it is far more common than the kinds of numbers we were used to before.”

ONS data published on 6 October says that among 20,262 Britons who tested positive for Covid-19 between July 2020 and September 2021, there were 296 reinfections – defined as a new positive test 120 days or more after an initial first positive test – with an average (median) time of 203 days between positive tests.

However, the reinfection risk appears to have been higher since May 2021 when Delta took over as the predominant variant.

Further data from the US, where various states have now started tracking and reporting on reinfection rates, supports the idea there is a substantially higher risk of re-infection with Delta.

In Oklahoma, which has a population of about 3.9 million, there were 5,229 reinfections reported during September (equivalent to a reinfection rate of 1,152 per 100,000) and reinfections have risen 350% since May.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines reinfection as a lab-confirmed case of Covid-19 occurring 90 days or more after a previously lab-confirmed case.

Dr Nisreen Alwan, associate professor in public health, at the University of Southampton, said: “With rising levels of Sars-CoV-2 infections in the UK, many of us are personally aware of children and adults who got reinfected, sometimes after a relatively short period from their first infection.

“We still don’t know much about the risk factors for reinfection but the theoretical assumption that once all the young get it the pandemic will be over is becoming increasingly unlikely.”

To help answer this question, Prof Jeffrey Townsend and colleagues at Yale University School of Medicine analysed known reinfection and immunological data from other coronaviruses, including those that cause Sars, MERS and common colds.

By combining this with antibody and other immunological data from people who had recovered from Sars-CoV-2, they were able to model the risk of Covid-19 reinfection over time.

The research, published in The Lancet Microbe, suggested that reinfections would become increasingly common as immunity waned, particularly when the number of infections was high.

“If we had no infection controls, no one was masking or social distancing, there were no vaccines, we should expect reinfection on a three-month to five-year timescale – meaning that the average person should expect to get Covid every three months to five years,” Townsend said.

Although vaccines are suppressing the level of infections, the UK reported 49,156 Covid cases on Monday, the highest figure since mid-July. Rates are highest among secondary schoolchildren, with an estimated 8.1% of this group thought to have had Covid-19 in the week ending 9 October.

“If you allow it to run amok in any age group then it runs amok in all age groups,” said Townsend.

“The major implications are that if you haven’t been vaccinated, you should get vaccinated, and if you’ve been infected, you should go ahead and get vaccinated anyway, because that will extend the duration of your protection.”

Griffin said: “If you don’t clamp down on prevalence [in schoolchildren], you’ll get the spread of infection and possibly reinfection, which will then potentially spread to parents whose vaccines may be waning, and more critically to grandparents and clinically vulnerable people.”

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Health

Group hails IG as mother accused Hospital of stealing Placenta

The Inspector General of Police, (IG) Kayode Egbetokun has received praises for the prompt arrest of suspects accused of stealing the placenta of a new born baby in privated hospital located in Kwara State. The suspects were taken from Ilofa to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
In a statement signed by NHRC’s official, Mr Taiwo Adeleye said the arrest of the suspects was an important step towards securing justice for the families of Mr Rotimi Williams whose wife accused health officials at a private hospital of stealing the placenta of her new born baby.
The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC),a coalition of 130 civil society groups spread across Nigeria on Thursday expressed delight at the arrest of the suspects by the police.
The group said it was aware of plots by some powerful individuals to clog the wheel of justice but was delighted that the IG has brought hope to the despairing family. It called for full investigation that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of all culprits.
Few days ago, Mrs Williams accused the management of Cottage hospital, Ilofa, Kwara State of failing to account for the placenta of her new born baby. In complaints lodged with the NHRC, Mrs Williams said a nurse, Mrs Alabi took the delivery, one nurse Adeloye cleaned up the baby while one Mrs Toyin, a ward attendant claimed she mistakenly threw away the placenta.
“In Nigerian agelong tradition, the placenta is linked to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of a new born baby. There is a customary and agelong way of burying placenta of which every medical staff is aware.The disappearance of a baby’s placenta is a source of eternal trauma for the parents and a prelude to impugn the future of the child based on timeless tradition and beliefs,” the NHRC said.
The Coalition said the placenta could be stolen for rituals, adding that stealing a placenta is like killing the child or using the child for ritual by other means The group said it would follow-up the case “day and night” to ensure justice is done. The NHRC said Mrs Toyin brought out the mother’s bags from the labour room but failed to take the placenta along.
The rights group said one Mrs Ayoni Awolusi in the course of the delivery, claimed she was to be on duty but was absent. The medical personnel expected to be on dury was Dr. Ajibola. NHRC said Mrs Williams put to bed around 7pm on Sunday May 12 but discovered the missing placenta very early on Monday 13th, May.
The group called on the IG to intensify the probe and ensure every one connected with the gory episode is brought to justice

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AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccines from market as demand reduces

Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca on Wednesday said it was withdrawing Covid vaccine Vaxzevria, one of the first produced in the deadly pandemic, citing “commercial reasons” following a slump in demand.

“As multiple, variant Covid-19 vaccines have since been developed there is a surplus of available updated vaccines. This has led to a decline in demand for Vaxzevria, which is no longer being manufactured or supplied,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson added in a statement.

“We will now work with regulators and our partners to align on a clear path forward to conclude this chapter and significant contribution to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

AstraZeneca rapidly developed the successful Covid-19 jab during the coronavirus pandemic which erupted in the first half of 2020.

Vaxzevria, developed alongside Oxford University, was at first offered at cost but Astra decided in late 2021 to sell it for profit.

But the world pivoted towards mRNA vaccines, particularly the one produced by US drugs giant Pfizer and German peer BioNTech, after rare blood-clot problems with Astra’s jab increased public hesitancy about taking it.

Sales collapsed further as global Covid restrictions were fully lifted worldwide and the world emerged from the global health crisis.

The AstraZeneca spokesperson said the group had begun the process from taking it off the market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA) region.

The company will work with other regulators globally to start market authorisation withdrawals for the Vaxzevria “where no future commercial demand for the vaccine is expected”.

The spokesperson said that, according to independent estimates, “over 6.5 million lives were saved in the first year of use alone” and more than three billion doses were supplied globally.

“We are incredibly proud of the role Vaxzevria played in ending the global pandemic,” the spokesperson said.

“Our efforts have been recognised by governments around the world and are widely regarded as being a critical component of ending the global pandemic. ”

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NMA lauds Police for arresting fake doctor in Lagos

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has commended the Nigerian Police Force for arresting an alleged fake medical doctor.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, Chairman, NMA Lagos, said the arrest will strengthen the association’s fight against quackery in the medical profession.

Olowojebutu explained that medical quackery was a dangerous practice that posed a threat to the well-being of citizens and the delivery of quality healthcare in the state, and country.

“The arrest is a welcome development for the health sector; we would expose these quacks and ensure that Lagos does not suffer further morbidity and mortality from their nefarious activities.

“We are glad that our work on anti-quackery has started yielding progress as we are determined to weed out quacks from the medical profession,” he said.

The chairman pledged that NMA Lagos, with the support of the Ministry of Health, Health Monitoring and Accreditation Agency, HEFAMAA, and police, would eradicate quacks from the state.

According to him, the association would hold an anti-quackery summit soon, after which it would present a white paper to the Lagos State Government on anti-quackery.

Olowojebutu warned hospitals to refrain from employing staff whose certificates and licences had not been verified by the MDCN to safeguard the health of the populace.

The 37-year-old medical practitioner with suspected forged certificates was arrested by police at Skylink Medical Centre, Elepe-Ikorodu.

The police said they arrested the suspect, who claimed to be the managing director of the health facility, based on intelligence gathered by the command through members of the Elepe community concerning the activities of the suspect.

The police recovered two suspected forged certificates of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, after searching for the facility.

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