South America sees sharp drop in infections


Just a few weeks ago, Covid-19 was spreading with alarming ease across a cluster of nations in South America, overwhelming hospital systems and killing thousands of people daily.

Suddenly, the region that had been the epicenter of the pandemic is breathing a sigh of relief.

New infections have fallen sharply in nearly every nation in South America as vaccination rates have ramped up. The reprieve has been so sharp and fast, even as the Delta variant wreaks havoc elsewhere in the world, that experts can’t quite explain it.

Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay experienced dramatic surges of cases in the first months of the year, just as vaccines started to arrive in the region. Containment measures were uneven and largely lax because governments were desperate to jump-start languishing economies.

“Now the situation has cooled across South America,” said Carla Domingues, an epidemiologist who ran Brazil’s immunization program until 2019. “It’s a phenomenon we don’t know how to explain.”

In Brazil, which had a slow, chaotic vaccine rollout, nearly 64 percent of the population has received at least one dose of a vaccine, a rate that exceeds that of the United States.

In Chile and Uruguay, more than 70 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

As cases have dropped, schools in much of the region have resumed in-person classes. Airports are becoming busier as more people have started traveling for work and leisure.

The drop in caseloads led the United Nations this past week to provide a more optimistic projection of economic growth in the region. It now expects economies in Latin America and the Caribbean to grow by 5.9 percent this year, a slight increase from its 5.2 estimate in July.

City of São Paulo immunizes more than 500,000 people in 34 hours; 99.2% of adults received at least one dose


After 34 uninterrupted hours with the “Virada da Vacina”, more than 500 thousand people over 18 were immunized against Covid-19 in the city of São Paulo, according to Edson Aparecido, municipal secretary of Health.

“We have just closed the numbers of Virada da Vacina. 471,350 doses were registered in our system, we still have 32 thousand doses that did not go up in the system. We exceeded 500 thousand doses applied in 34 hours in the capital”, said the secretary.

According to the balance of the secretariat, were applied in the “Virada” 404,398 first doses, 67,020 second doses and 13 single doses. Another 32 thousand doses were applied, but had not yet been released in the city’s system until the last update of this article.

According to Aparecido, with this, the city reaches 99.2% of the population over 18 years old with at least one dose of the vaccine against Covid applied. “Now we intend, Monday and Tuesday, to finish completing the vaccination to reach 100% of people over 18 with the first dose in the capital.”

Brazil records the lowest number of Covid cases since November 2020


Brazil registered 411 deaths and 12,085 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. The data were updated by the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) on Monday (9).

The number of new cases presented on Monday is the lowest since November 9, when the country confirmed 10,917 new cases of the disease in 24 hours. As for the number of deaths in 24 hours, the country registered today the lowest rate since January 8, when there were 867 deaths.

São Paulo Brazil vaccinates 75% of the adult population against COVID-19


The State of São Paulo has already vaccinated 75% of the adult population in the vaccination campaign against COVID-19. The number indicates that for every four people aged 18 or over, three have already received at least one dose of the immunizing agent. This is what the Vacinometer showed at 5:16 pm this Monday (26).

Among this group, 26% already have a complete vaccine schedule, consisting of two doses in the case of immunizing agents from Butantan/Coronavac, Fiocruz/Astrazeneca/Oxford and Pfizer, or a single dose from Janssen.

The balance of this afternoon shows more than 25.39 million applications of the first dose, 8.38 million of the second and more than 1 million of a single dose.

The adult population of SP is 35.3 million, according to IBGE estimates for 2020, and the Government of the State of São Paulo wants to vaccinate this public with at least one dose by August 20th.

Brazil’s average daily Covid-19 deaths drops 28% in last 30 days


The number of daily deaths by Covid-19 in Brazil dropped 28.3% in a month, according to the 7-day rolling average released by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz). The data show that on May 9th, the daily average stood at 2,100 deaths, down from 2,930 on April 9th.

In 14 days, the rolling average of deaths dropped 15.8%, given that on April 25th the daily number of deaths reached 2,495.

The peak of deaths was recorded on April 12th (3,124). Since then, records have been showing a downward trajectory.

Existing coronavirus jabs may protect against Brazilian variant as strain ‘may be less resistant to antibodies’


The University of Oxford has said existing COVID-19 vaccines may protect against the Brazilian coronavirus variant as the P1 strain may be less resistant to antibodies than first thought.

A study by the university – which jointly developed the AstraZeneca coronavirus jab with the British-Swedish firm – examined the impact of natural and vaccine-induced antibodies on different strains.

The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, measured the level of antibodies that can neutralise – or stop infection from – variants that are circulating in South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere.

It found that vaccines do not work as well against the variants as against the original strain of coronavirus, but that the P1 Brazilian variant may be less resistant to vaccine-induced antibodies than first feared.

“These data suggest that natural and vaccine-induced antibodies can still neutralise these variants, but at lower levels,” the university said.

Lab test shows Pfizer Covid vaccine is effective against Brazil variant


The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was able to combat a new variant that was rapidly circulating in Brazil, a new study has found.

The research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the engineered version of the virus, containing the same mutation carried on the spike protein as the highly contagious P1 variant first identified in Brazil, was effectively neutralised among people who were given the jab.

The new variants are observed to carry changes in the spike, which is used by the virus to enter the human cells. These changes, in turn, affects how transmissible the virus is and therefore, is the primary target of the many coronavirus vaccines.

Scientists from the two companies and the University of Texas Medical Branch said that the neutralising ability of the vaccine on the new variant was equivalent to the effect on the less contagious version of the virus from the last year.

Oxford scientists preparing vaccine versions to combat emerging virus variants


Oxford scientists are preparing to rapidly produce new versions of their vaccine to combat emerging more contagious COVID-19 variants discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

The team behind the vaccine from Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc is undertaking feasibility studies to reconfigure the technology, the newspaper said, citing a confirmation from Oxford University.

The scientists were working on estimating how quickly they could reconfigure their ChAdOx vaccine platform, the report said.

Recent laboratory tests have indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and partner BioNTech SE is likely to work against the UK variant spreading around the world.

BioNTech has said it plans to publish a more detailed analysis of the likely effect of its vaccine on the South African variant within a few days.

AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna Inc and CureVac NV are also testing whether their respective shots will protect against the fast-spreading variants.

White House considers lifting European travel restrictions


The White House is considering rescinding entry bans for most non-U.S. citizens who recently were in Brazil, Britain, Ireland and 26 other European countries, five U.S. and airline officials told Reuters.

The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. It is not considering lifting separate entry bans on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in China or Iran, the officials said.

The plan has won the backing of White House coronavirus task-force members, public health and other federal agencies, the people briefed on the matter said, but President Donald Trump has not made a final decision and the timing remains uncertain.

The White House, Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not comment.

Many administration officials argue the restrictions no longer make sense given that most countries around the world are not subject to the entry ban. They contend lifting the restrictions would be a boost to struggling U.S. airlines, which have seen international travel fall by 70%, according to airline industry data. US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine ‘behaves as desired’, analysis finds


The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been shown to work as planned by new analysis.

A method to check the inoculation contains all the correct parts was developed by a team at Bristol University, providing greater evidence that the vaccine works.

Even though the research has not yet been peer reviewed, it has been hailed as a “wonderful example of cross-disciplinary collaboration”.

The vaccine is currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials to further establish the safety of the treatment.

It comes after confirmation the trials will continue after a man taking part died in Brazil. It is understood that the man was taking a placebo and not the active vaccine.

The new method of analysis allowed scientists to check that the vaccine was properly designed to replicate the parts of the COVID-19 make-up needed to train the immune system to fight the disease.

The study proved that the vaccine is correctly programmed to replicate the “spike protein” associated with COVID-19 that has been inserted into the immunisation shot.

“Until now, the technology hasn’t been able to provide answers with such clarity, but we now know the vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness.”

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford and lead on the Oxford vaccine trial, added: “This is a wonderful example of cross-disciplinary collaboration, using new technology to examine exactly what the vaccine does when it gets inside a human cell.

“The study confirms that large amounts of the coronavirus spike protein are produced with great accuracy, and this goes a long way to explaining the success of the vaccine in inducing a strong immune response.” US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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