‘COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility or shorten life expectancy’ – Newstrends
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‘COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility or shorten life expectancy’

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University College Hospital (UCH) Professor of Virology David Olaleye debunks the lies about COVID 19 vaccine affecting fertility, shortening life expectancy and other bogus unverifiable claims. In this interview, he provides insights into the complexities of vaccine development and tells why the COVID 19 vaccine marked an early entry for human vaccination.

 

Between the AIDS vaccines and the COVID 19 vaccines

You know, there are some basic things you must understand, the insinuation or suspicion is understandable especially as you said, we have HIV/AIDS now for over 30 years actually and medical science is still struggling with the HIV vaccine, even the treatment; the best of the treatment for HIV today which we have gone a long way from single monotherapy to two to now triple therapy, even with the triple you now have one pill a day, which is amazing how medical science have gone in terms of treatment but in terms of vaccine, yes it is been long and I would say, some people are frustrated because of the length of time but if people understand the nature; that is the biology of the two viruses, that is the HIV and the Corona SARS COV 2, you might be able to explain why it has been possible for the medical science community, particularly the NIH in the US and the other funders that supported the development of COVID 19 vaccine to come up with the vaccine so quickly.

One is that, the HIV is a virus that changes so frequently, the diversity of HIV is so wide, that coming up with a vaccine that is broadly protective is so challenging, developing a vaccine that will be broadly protective is the target.

If you look at the subtypes of HIV all around the world almost the same way within an individual, the variability; the virus gets into the system today and in 24 hours you already have very little variant because of the structure of the virus, that virulent complexity is not the same as with COVID or SARS COV 2, but apart from that, the knowledge that has been acquired over the 30 something years of HIV has been so amazing in the medical science, before HIV  people talked about influenza virus, it has been so well studied over generations,

since 1918, the major pandemic, the Spanish flu, the knowledge gained over time have brought a lot of sub disciplines of biomedical science together –biochemistry, molecular biology and then virology, the available knowledge and technique together since the first outbreak of corona virus 2002/2003 has all been combined to help hasten the corona virus vaccine production. So it is not entirely correct that the corona virus vaccine was developed under one year, since 2002/2003 that the corona virus broke out in China, what we call SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), people recognise – the NIH and funders like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that this is a respiratory virus unlike HIV that spread sexually; blood transfusion and mother to child, that you can decide as an individual to avoid exposure but with respiratory viruses it is difficult, the mood of transmission in respiratory virus is difficult to control, it is a major public health challenge, so when you look at the relative risk of becoming infected with respiratory virus, it is in tens of hundredth of folds than those transmitted by sexual intercourse or blood transfusion, so before the outbreak of COVID, certain studies have been going on since the first outbreak of SARS in 2002/2003, so the technology of the mRNA vaccine the one by Pfizer and Modena has been developed years back before SARS COV 2. So, the studies have been ongoing long before now.

The urgency and mass infection of the COVID 19 virus

My submission to this is that anything that is life-threatening is considered important, but you look at the risk of exposure, the risk of becoming infected, look at the population base, in population health, which one spread faster and the control is beyond or maybe beyond one individual so efforts on funding will most likely go towards such at a higher degree.

COVID 19 vaccines, wearing masks, social distancing 

One interesting aspect of science is the wide range of people looking at the same thing from different angles and they see it differently, the biggest of what is being said is perception and perception is in the mind and that becomes very difficult to manage.

The basic thing is that science is truth; it deals with facts. When people set out to conduct a study, the aim of the study is very important, it links in almost all the time with the outcome, but the truth at the end of the day is the fact of the matter, when you say 2 plus 2, it remains 4 anywhere in the world, under any condition, that is science for you.  In medical science or in biological science, we know that all these things are there in nature that is why our study is different from what they do in physical science; physical science and engineering base their outcomes on principles of sciences but in medical or biological science, you are only uncovering what is already there, so your approach is very important and it will be related to your findings at the end of the day. So these so called scientists, the question is how do they design their studies?

What we know is that this virus is concentrated in saliva, and it comes out in breathe, the virus multiplies in the lining of the respiratory track, it multiplies there and it is expelled when we are talking, the force with which we speak or talk is very important because it is proportional to propelling what is released from the mouth; so when you cover your mouth, you prevent release of the things coming out to infect the next person. And that is why distance is very important, if you are not shouting; we know, it has been studied by physicists and physiologists combined that the farthest that is released from one person to the other is 3 feet, one meter and that is why it is recommended that the distancing of two meters is required when you are in a gathering, people who are in crowded places are at higher risk than people in large open area from influenza; all respiratory viruses, it is not just peculiar to the SARS COV, it is applicable to all respiratory viruses generally.

So that is the principle of covering, so you prevent as much as possible the release and the other person that is covering you prevent from inhaling, so it is known that if two people cover, the risk of infection is almost negligible, if only one person cover, the risk of being infected is about 90 something percent, if none is covered, it is 100 percent risk. And then the basic principle of hand washing; when we talk there are secretions that comes out, we have droplet particles are so small that cannot be seen with ordinary human eye, by reflexes one can easily pass on the droplets from surfaces to the face. That is why it is advisable to wash hands with soap regularly.

Fear of depopulation and infertility

You have to give those with such thinking some benefit of the doubt; the virus seemingly to them emerged from nowhere, it destabilised peoples’ plan, by the year 2020 people had plans but today millions of people are gone! It’s unbelievable! But you know whatever is been said against the virus is all fear message without scientific citation, so part of what we need to do as science community is to use education to push back against these unverified claims. We should use information, use science to educate more people. The whole world is overwhelmed, so one must back up claims with science; people need to be rightly informed.

I am a member of the Oyo state COVID 19 taskforce, at the meeting, the governor said he wants to be guided by data, and that is the way to go, we must provide data; data to show real situation. I think what we need in the science community is a lot of information and date to show proof against what the mischief makers are trying to achieve. You have to be able to develop short straightforward messages backed with scientific proves to counter fear messages. It will be helpful to engage the religious leaders also, you mentioned the claim on infertility, I can tell you that there is nothing; absolutely nothing related in any way to show that the vaccine has such component to cause infertility. It was the same as the time with the polio vaccine. But the response was engaging the traditional institution to help make people better informed. That is what we must continue to do; people will come up with all kinds of mischief and hypothesis, as scientists we need to constantly use science and information to educate the public.

Infertility, reduction of life expectancy and other claims

You know I talked about perception, I think generally they are spreading fear. But the other side of the coin is that it is mischief. It is direct deliberate mischief. You know the human mind is very strange, some do this for commercial reasons, and others do this because of the state of mind that enjoys seeing people in serious problems. You know in the early days of SARS, people said they will be picking dead bodies along the streets and all sort of things, we haven’t seen that happen and that will not happen. Some are doing this for economics, look at when the pandemic broke out, ordinary simple lab equipment jumped in price, some people don’t just care, and they are more concerned about the money they want to make. The other side is what you call the religious/political aspect. I am not a politician but as political scientists will tell you that all man belongs to that political classification, there is a strong divide and differences politically so you must see all kinds of people coming with different unfounded claims. The religious aspect is the one I consider very important, like I said we need to seriously and massively educate the men of God, the pastors, the Muslim cleric and other faith leaders. So it is a combination of factors; ignorance and mischief.

The variance of the COVID-19 virus in the UK, South Africa

One thing I want people to understand is that viruses will always mutate, it is the nature of the organism. Viruses don’t have the sub-units that are required to build structure, it is taken from the host cell…sometime the change is a result of the immune pressure of the host, some other viruses are because of their structure like the influenza virus assortment, so this organism mutate generally but what is important is what does it translate to, we talk of phenotypically (the physical structure of the virus) does it translate to faster transmission, which is what we have now, does it translate to a more virulent pathogenic that kills faster and kill more people like the AIDS virus?

So, generally it is in the nature of viruses to mutate into different variance. The vaccines that are available are also targeting the spike protein, that is where the virus is attached to the host cell, so when this variance is reported it is good but the real information is what does it mean? What does it translate to phenotypically? That is the most important thing. The one that is very critical is the ones we call the escape mutant, the surveillance and monitoring must be sustained. People have been talking about herd immunity; herd immunity is the portion of people in a particular population to that have protective immunity, generally about 70 to 80 percent of a population to achieve what we call the dead end host situation.

Possibility of re-infection

There is the possibility but it is very rare, it is not a common occurrence, it is possible but not common, it is possible because of what is called the escape mutant; escape mutant is a variant that is different from what people have been exposed to or built immunity against. That is why monitoring is very important, we do not have enough data yet but people think what is currently happening in India could be some level of re-infection, they may be dealing with a variant that they were not exposed to before because it should ordinary at the level of the outbreak no matter what they would have had some level of herd immunity to protect them to some level, so it is possible with this escape mutant that is why surveillance and monitoring are very crucial.

Is it possible to be with COVID over three months or more?

What we know is that the range about 80 percent should be infected for no more than 14 to 21 days, beyond that we have also observed some people who have 50 to 60 days of infection but 90 days is probably what we need to do more study on, it could be serious to carry the virus for that long, but also you have some asymptomatic patients and some people that are called poor respondents in terms of immunity but pathologically it could be very serious if one carries the virus for that long, but from what we know of respiratory virus, is we know that within 6 weeks, it could be with the same infection but if its more than 6 weeks, you have probably been re-infected. Re-infection is common; it has been reported in Nigeria.

COVID 19 and local herbs

The herbs that are being used are things that are called anti-inflammatory agents. The anti-inflammatory agents have shown to help, but they are not anti-viral, anti-viral will clear virus, not anti-inflammatory agents, so some of these like bitter kola, bitter leaf, ginger and all some of things are either anti-inflammatory or immune boosters some of these products have been shown to boost the immune system, it is not peculiar to COVID, they are not specific for treatment. Then a lot of vegetables that we eat as food are known as anti-inflammatory agents and as anti-oxidants, so all those will help till the body immune system will help until the virus is eliminated by prescribed treatment. The immune system is a big factor to fight off diseases.

Can asymptomatic patients infect or not?

I think that is part of what enhanced the spread, the thing is that once you have the virus you can infect if you have the symptoms or not. In fact, that is the danger. Let me give you this statistics from our study, it’s just that I don’t want to sound as stigmatising, what we find is that among the population of those most infected are people working in crowded places, those working in an environment that are enclosed in air-conditioned offices. You see people who are not showing symptoms infecting others. That is why it is so difficult to control.

When do you think the world will begin to normalise?

Globally, it is what the world will have to learn to live with, once vaccine becomes available as we now have and still developing, then the problem is almost solved, so it will be whether it will be an annual jab just like influenza, that we will know in another few years, there is this thing we call new normal, I think we may have to live with this as new normal, it may not just disappear overnight. Once this virus comes and gets established in human population, it is difficult to get rid of it.

-The Nation

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FCTA denies increasing school fees in public boarding schools

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FCTA denies increasing school fees in public boarding schools

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says there is no increment of school fees in public boarding schools in the federal capital.

The Mandate Secretary, Education Secretariat, FCTA, Dr Danlami Hayyo, disclosed this in an interview on Thursday in Abuja.

Recall that some parents had claimed that the FCT Administration increased school fees for students in FCT public boarding schools.

They claimed that the fee was increased from between N29,000 and N32,000 to N47,000, a development they claimed had forced some parents to withdraw their children from boarding schools to day schools.

“The Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, had even approved the increase in the feeding allowances for boarding schools due to rising cost of food items.

“Look at the situation, how much is a bag of rice in the last two years and how much is a bag or rice currently? He asked.”

The mandate secretary also denied the claim that some parents have withdrawn their children from public boarding schools in the FCT.

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According to him, FCT public boarding schools are positioned to provide quality education at affordable cost and within the means of parents.

“I don’t think there is someone that will remove his children or his son from public school as a result of the feeding cost; I doubt much.”

He added that the quality of education in public schools was very encouraging, stressing that the best student in the 2023 West African Examination Council was from a public school.

He also said that students from public schools won more trophies from debates, quizzes and other academic and sports competitions in 2023 than private schools.

“In fact, in Abuja, so many parents are removing their children from private schools to public schools because of the quality of education the public schools provide.

“There is a high number of enrolments in public schools in Abuja currently and we are trying to bridge the infrastructural gap to accommodate more pupils and students,” he said.

Hayyo said that FCTA has concluded plans to inaugurate the schools recently rehabilitated, while plans are underway for the construction of new ones.

FCTA denies increasing school fees in public boarding schools

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FG bans export of cooking gas to crash prices

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FG bans export of cooking gas to crash prices

The Federal Government has banned the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas in order to increase the volume of supply and crash the prices across the country.

This was made known to journalists by the Minister of Petroleum (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, at the ‘Internal Stakeholders’ workshop on Thursday, February 22, 2024, in Abuja.

The minister who spoke at the sideline of the event stated that the LPG producers had been told to stop exporting the commodity out of Nigeria, following the recent jump in the cost of cooking gas.

The theme of the workshop is “Harnessing Nigeria’s Proven Gas Reserves for Economic Growth and Development.”

FG discussing with stakeholders

When asked what the government has done to control the rising cost of domestic gas, Ekpo said the ministry is discussing constantly with critical stakeholders like the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and operators such as Mobil, Chevron, and Shell to address the issue.

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He explained that once there is a stoppage of the export of locally produced domestic gas, there will be more volume for the domestic market which will automatically reduce the price of the product.

  • He said, “We are interacting with critical stakeholders to ensure that there is no exportation of LPG.
  • “All LPG produced within the country will have to be domesticated. And when this is done, the volume will increase and of course, the price will automatically crash.
  • With the issue of gas, you have seen the demonstration of the Federal Government by withdrawing all taxes and levies from the importation of gas-related equipment. It is a big incentive.
  • “On the issue of LPG (cooking gas), we are interacting with the critical sectors to ensure that there is no exportation of LPG. All LPG produced within the country will have to be domesticated. And when this is done, the volume will increase and, of course, the price will automatically crash.
  • “I’m in contact with the regulator, NMDPRA, we have meetings almost daily with the producers of the gas like Mobil, Chevron and Shell. So there is that hope that things will turn around.
  • “And that is also why we are having this engagement to know exactly what the problems are so that we can address them once and for all.”

What you should know

  • There have been reports of escalating prices of cooking gas in major cities across the country with the prices hovering between N17,000 and N18,000, as against the N9,000 the product was selling around November last year.
  • Earlier in September 2023, gas retailers under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers warned that the price of a 12.5kg cooking gas cylinder could surge to N18,000 by December 2023 if the Federal Government does not intervene to regulate the actions of terminal owners.
  • The president of the association, Olatunbosun Oladapo, attributed this unjustifiable price hike to terminal owners who, he alleged, are exploiting the excuse of a high foreign exchange rate to increase prices, causing significant hardship to the general population.

FG bans export of cooking gas to crash prices

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Military warns against calls for coup over economic hardship

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Military warns against calls for coup over economic hardship

Those calling for coup don’t mean well for Nigeria’

The military has warned those calling for a forceful takeover of government through a coup due to the rising cost of living in Nigeria.

It said on Thursday that it would come down hard on people inviting the military to truncate Nigeria’s democracy, noting that they do not mean well for the country.

Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said this on Thursday, saying those calling a coup did not mean well for the country.

Musa said the Armed Forces would continue to protect the country’s democracy.

He spoke while responding to questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation, both at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Although he admitted the country was experiencing some challenges, he said coup calls were improper because nations would achieve more and develop faster under a democracy.

“Whoever is making that the call (coup) does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy.

“We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.

“And they should be very careful because the law will come after them. We can see that with democracy a lot of things are happening in Nigeria. Yes we are going through trying periods, I mean in life nothing is hundred percent.”

He also stated, “Everybody goes through a trying period in life, and it is what you do with them. You can see the government putting efforts to ensure that we come out better.

“And it is when you go through difficulties and come out better you will really appreciate what it is to build a nation. And so we are going through our trying period, but I can assure Nigerians that it will get better.

“All we need is for all of us to put our hands together to ensure that we defeat those enemies of the government; those enemies of this country that don’t want us to succeed. We will surely succeed and the Armed Forces are here to support the government in ensuring that we develop; we succeed and to see that there is peace in Nigeria.”

 

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