Pfizer recommends a 3rd dose against the Delta variant

Pfizer / BioNtech recommends a third dose of its vaccine to increase its effectiveness at a time when the highly contagious Delta variant is causing epidemic outbreaks in Asia and Africa and is pushing up the number of cases in Europe and the United States.

The Delta variant which first appeared in India is the most contagious recorded since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. Its rise and the lifting of health restrictions in many parts of the world have led the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn that "the world was at a dangerous point in this pandemic "  whose death toll has exceeded four million. The  Covid-19 has killed at least 4,004,966 people around the world since its appearance at the end of December 2019, according to a report established by AFP from official sources Thursday at 10 a.m. UT.

The third dose would be given six months after the second

The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance has announced plans to request "  in the coming weeks"  authorization for the

third dose of its vaccine against Covid-19, in the United States and in Europe in particular.

"  Preliminary study data shows that a booster dose given six months after the second dose has a consistent safety profile while eliciting high levels of neutralizing antibodies "  against the virus, including against the Beta variant, appeared in South Africa. These levels are "  5 to 10 times higher"  than those seen after the initial two doses. The two companies also pointed out that their vaccine had shown good results in the laboratory against the Delta variant, and that a third dose would therefore be able to boost immunity against it as well. Tests are underway to " confirm this hypothesis, ” they said.

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. © pridannikov, AdobeStock.
The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. © pridannikov, AdobeStock. 

 US health officials reacted with caution. "  Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster at this time, " the United States Drugs Agency ( FDA ) and the leading federal public health agency, Centers for Disease Control, said in a joint statement. disease prevention and control ( CDC ). "  We are ready to give booster doses if and when science shows they are necessary," they added.

In Cuba, a second vaccine candidate, dubbed Soberana 2, has an effectiveness of 91.2% after the application of three doses, announced Thursday by the director of the laboratory that developed it.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world with nearly 270 million inhabitants, is facing its worst epidemic wave since the start of the crisis, with hundreds of deaths and more than 30,000 new cases every day. . The health system is overwhelmed by an influx of patients, and Indonesians are snapping up ivermectin, an antiparasitic treatment acclaimed as a miracle cure against Covid-19, despite official recommendations against this product. "  We no longer have any because many customers have come to buy them", testifies Yoyon, head of a professional association of pharmacists in the capital. The country widened its restrictions on Wednesday, while drastic measures had already been in place since Saturday on the islands of Java and Bali. The new restrictions, in effect until July 20, will apply to dozens of cities, from Sumatra (west) to West Papua (east).

Ivermectin, a medicine used to treat parasitic diseases such as scabies. © HJBC, AdobeStock.

Ivermectin, a medicine used to treat parasitic diseases such as scabies. © HJBC, AdobeStock. 

The situation is contrasted between regions of the world

Elsewhere in Asia, Vietnam has declared containment in Ho Chi Minh City . From Friday, the nine million residents will be required to stay at home for two weeks, after 8,000 cases have been recorded in the city.

South Korea, once considered a model in the face of the coronavirus , reported nearly 1,300 new infections on Thursday, a record since the start of the pandemic.

The Australian government has announced that it will send 300,000 doses of the vaccine to Sydney, the country's largest city, which is in its third week of containment.

In the United States, where the vaccination campaign was successful, the cases of Covid-19 are increasing again, according to data from health authorities.

Canada, on the other hand, has started to ease travel restrictions for its citizens, but unvaccinated foreign travelers will not be allowed to re-enter the country until "  a good while," in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's words.

The health situation is "catastrophic" in Tunisia, which has recorded a record number of Covid-19 contaminations in recent weeks , the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday, referring to the "  collapse " of the health system. Libya therefore decided on Thursday to close its borders with Tunisia.

Relaxation in certain places

The Chilean government announced Thursday an easing of restrictions, without however reopening the borders, while 73% of its 19 million inhabitants are vaccinated. A curfew remains in force, however.

In Europe, France reopened its nightclubs on Friday after around 16 months of closure, but strict government-imposed health protocol ultimately dissuaded most from resuming their activity. The French Secretary of State for European Affairs also advised the French on Thursday "  to avoid Spain and Portugal"  this summer. The health situation has deteriorated sharply in recent days in Spain, with an explosion in the number of Covid-19 contaminations among young people, and Catalonia (north-east) decided on Tuesday to reimpose restrictions. In Portugal, the share of the Delta variant in new coronavirus cases detected in the country has increased to almost 90%, according to a report.

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