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The new coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has infected close to nine million people and killed over 460,000 globally. Nigeria is one of the worst hit in Africa, having recorded over 19,000 infections and 506 deaths as of Saturday night.

The outbreak has overshadowed human activities and crippled the economy and health services in many countries.

There was, however, a glimmer of hope during the week as a drug trial in the UK showed potential for the cure of the disease.

Here are some of the stories which made headlines:

Nigeria records 19 new coronavirus deaths

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced 661 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday night, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19, 808.

Nineteen deaths were also recorded from the virus on Saturday, bringing the number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 506.

As of the time of reporting, 35 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease. Only Cross River state is yet to report any case in Nigeria.

U.S. halts hydroxychloroquine clinical trial after finding no additional benefit for COVID-19 patients

The National Institutes of Health announced Saturday that it had halted clinical trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for adults hospitalised with Covid-19.

“A data and safety monitoring board met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalised patients with Covid-19,” the NIH said in a statement.

Hydroxychloroquine, which has been frequently touted by President Donald Trump who claimed to have used it himself, is typically used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions, such as arthritis.

Immunity to COVID-19 may wane just 2-3 months after infection, study suggests

Protective immune responses that build up during a SARS-CoV-2 infection may weaken just two to three months later—particularly if the infection didn’t come with any symptoms, a new study suggests.

The finding does not necessarily mean that people will no longer be immune to the novel coronavirus after a few months. The lower levels of the immune responses measured in the study may still be enough to thwart the virus, and there are other types of immune responses not examined in the study that play a role in immunity.

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Overall, there are still many unknowns about potential immunity to SAR-CoV-2 infections, including who is most protected and how long that protection may last.

COVID-19: NCDC denies sending positive samples to Cross River

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has debunked allegations by the Cross River State Government that the agency was shipping positive and negative test kits and cartridges into the state.

The Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the statements by the Cross River Commissioners of Information and Health are a misinterpretation of the Federal Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 testing strategy and efforts to protect the health of Nigerians from this disease.

“We would like to state unequivocally, that there is no plan to transport positive samples from one state to the other.

FG releases N4.5 billion special COVID-19 allowance for striking doctors, others

The federal government has released N4.5 billion to 31 federal teaching and medical centres across the country, an official has said.

Labour minister Chris Ngige said the payment which covers hazard and inducement allowances for April and May is made with the expectation that it would ameliorate the plight of resident doctors across the country who downed tools since Monday over unpaid salaries and allowances.

Chris Ngige. [PHOTO CREDIT: Sahara Reporters]Chris Ngige. [PHOTO CREDIT: Sahara Reporters] Chris Ngige. [PHOTO CREDIT: Sahara Reporters]

The resident doctors announced the commencement of a nationwide “indefinite strike” on Monday morning in a communique issued at the end of their ‘virtual extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting’.

Firm bets on lab-produced breast milk

Biomilq is targeting infant nutrition by attempting to reproduce mother’s breast milk in a lab.

The start-up has just earned the backing of the world’s top investors, by raising $3.5 million in Series A funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ investment firm focused on climate change.

The co-founders hope that the breast milk produced by Biomilq from culturing mammary epithelial cells will help reduce the carbon footprint from the global infant formula market.

COVID-19: Cases from AU member states reach 287,385

The 54 African Union member states have reported a total COVID-19 cases of 287,385 with 7,708 deaths and 132,959 recoveries according to Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The South African region has the highest number of confirmed cases, deaths and recoveries.

Breakdown of incidents according to the region is as follows : Central Africa 28,188 cases; 624 deaths; 12,530 recoveries, Eastern Africa 30,647 cases ; 924 deaths 12,446 recoveries, Northern Africa 77,405; 3,210; 31,717, Southern Africa 91,866; 1,871; 49,738 and Western Africa 59,279; 1,079; 26,528.

COVID-19: EU, UN hand medical supplies to Nigeria

The European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) have handed over urgently needed essential medical supplies to the Nigerian government to fight COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“The EU and UN received delivery of vital supplies to help the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

“The current shipment includes, among other items, 545 oxygen concentrators, more than 100,000 test kits, infrared digital no-touch thermometers and numerous Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“Others are laboratory supplies and emergency health kits that will boost the Nigerian Government’s efforts on COVID-19 response and care for those affected by the Coronavirus,’’ the report announcing the development stated.

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