Maisi Opens Vaxx Plant

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Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NantWorks Patrick Soon-Shiong performed a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the construction of vaccine manufacturing plant in Botswana…reports Asian Lite News

The NantBotswana Vaccine Manufacturing Plant will produce Pula Corbevax vaccine against COVID-19 developed in partnership with Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine, said Masisi during the ceremony.

The Corbevax vaccine, which was approved by Botswana on Monday, is a protein subunit and patent-free COVID-19 vaccine. And it is believed to be more accessible and can help low and middle-income countries to fight against the pandemic.

Patrick Soon-Shiong stated that Corbevax has been safely administered to over 10 million young Indians, and it has been tested and proven to be effective in all variants, including Omicron.

“The project is important to me personally, to be able to deliver on the promises that Government pledged to Botswana, particularly to drive the transformational development agenda of Botswana from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one as espoused in our National Vision 2036,” Masisi said.

NantBotswana vaccine manufacturing plant was not only focused on addressing the COVID-19 challenges, but also other ailments affecting citizens such as cancer, he said.

ALSO READ: Botswana seeks UAE support to fuel economy

Patrick Soon-Shiong is a South African-American transplant surgeon, billionaire businessman and bioscientist. He is the founder of NantWorks, a network of healthcare, biotech, and artificial intelligence startups.

Covid Cases

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa reached 11,343,461, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The specialised healthcare agency of the African Union (AU) said the death toll across the continent stands at 251,297 and some 10,697,502 patients have recovered from the disease so far as on Sunday evening, Xinhua news agency reported.

South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are among the countries with the most Covid-19 cases on the continent, said the Africa CDC.

South Africa has recorded the most Covid-19 cases in Africa with 3,722,065 cases, followed by Morocco with 1,163,012 cases as of Sunday evening.

In terms of the caseload, southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by the northern and eastern parts of the continent, while central Africa is the least affected region, according to the Africa CDC.

Mental Health

A new study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found more than a third of high school students reported in 2021 they experienced poor mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Meanwhile, 44 per cent of high school students reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year, Xinhua news agency reported citing the new data published on Thursday.

The new analysis also described some of the severe challenges youth encountered during the pandemic.

More than half reported they experienced emotional abuse by a parent or other adult in the home, while over a quarter reported a parent or other adult in their home lost a job, according to the CDC data.

In addition, over a third of students said they experienced racism before or during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The highest levels were reported among Asian, African-American and other students of multiple races, according to the CDC study.

The study, which is the CDC’s first nationally representative survey of high school students during the pandemic, can inform effective programmes.

“These data echo a cry for help,” said CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Debra Houry.

  “The Covid-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students’ mental wellbeing. Our research shows that surrounding youth with the proper support can reverse these trends and help our youth now and in the future.”