Monday, 1 February 2021

SA COVID-19 VARIANT : WE ARE CHECKING ON IT, SAYS GOVT

 Zimbabwe is checking whether the more infectious South African variant of Covid-19 is already circulating in the country while it works with the World Health Organisation on buying approved vaccines and looks at establishing a standard “home kit” to distribute to the large majority of Covid-19 patients.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has already set aside US$100 million to buy Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population.

Last week Deputy Director of Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Raiva Simbi said there was a suspicion that the South African variant is already circulating in Zimbabwe.

“Yes we acknowledge that there is a new strain which is circulating in our population, but there is no evidence which showed that there is this strain in terms of laboratory confirmed tests,” he said.

Acting President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga last week said that genetic testing of samples was being done to identify any variants that might be in Zimbabwe.

Covid-19 is an RNA virus with around 30 000 base pairs in its genetic blueprint, and being an RNA virus mutations will be common.

Acting Health Permanent Secretary Dr Robert Mudyirandima has been concerned about different treatments being tried and wants a recommended Covid-19 treatment kit to minimise confusion.

“It is a good suggestion and it is an issue of concern which we have been discussing in the Ministry of Health and Child Care that people are being treated left right and centre.

“Currently there is no world-agreed treatment for Covid-19 so lots of things are being said, but at this point in time we may need to come up with what we say is a Covid-19 treatment kit that can be given to all those that we are sending home in addition to the preventive measures.”

There have been a lot of suggested Covid-19 treatment kits that include drugs such as azithromycin while some suggested packages include homemade concoctions and traditional herbal remedies.

Recently, the Medical and Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe warned in a statement against claims by some people that they can treat the virus.

The Council also warned practitioners against taking advantage of the sick and desperate members of the public. Herald

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