Pakistan reports four coronavirus deaths, 242 infections

NIH data shows positivity ratio climbing to 1.80%: US recommends boosters targeting Omicron: Canada approves Moderna shot targeting Omicron

By: News Desk
Published: 09:43 AM, 2 Sep, 2022
The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared for administration at a US health facility.–AFP
Caption: The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared for administration at a US health facility.–AFP
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Pakistan has registered another 242 coronavirus infections and four deaths during the last 24 hours (Thursday), showed the statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Friday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

As per the NIH data, the death toll in the country has now risen to 30,585 with the addition of four fatalities while the number of total infections now stood at 1,569,537 after adding the fresh 242 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Thursday), 13,455 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 1.80 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 115.

US CDC recommends boosters targeting Omicron

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended Covid-19 booster shots from Pfizer and Moderna targeting the Omicron variant, clearing the way for the administration of the shots.

This new generation of anti-Covid vaccines targets both the original strain of coronavirus and the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages, the subvariants of Omicron that are causing the most cases in the United States.

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot is recommended for people 12 and older and Moderna's for those 18 years and up.

"The updated Covid-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating Covid-19 variant. They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

"This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion," she added.

The new versions of the vaccines -- which were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday -- could potentially be available in the United States as early as next week.

The vaccines currently in circulation target the initial strain of the virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China. But they have gradually proven to be less effective against the variants that have appeared over time, due to rapid evolution of the virus.

In contrast to the Alpha and Delta variants, which eventually waned, Omicron and its subvariants have come to dominate infections worldwide in 2022.

Canada approves Moderna shot targeting Omicron

Canada on Thursday authorized an updated Moderna Covid-19 booster shot that specifically targets the Omicron variant and is said to provide significantly better protection against it.

In a summary of the decision, Health Canada said clinical trials of the new bivalent vaccine induced significantly higher immune responses than its predecessor against the now dominant Omicron variants.

It also matched the older Moderna vaccine's effectiveness against the original virus, and is recommended as a booster in adults aged 18 years and over. (Bivalent means the jab targets both the original and new strains).

Britain has also approved the new Moderna vaccine, while the United States and the European Union have approved both the new Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Omicron jabs.

Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said the bivalent Moderna Spikevax vaccine "is anticipated to provide stronger and broader protection, including against the Omicron variants that have been circulating."

It is the first bivalent shot to be authorized for use in Canada. Pfizer-BioNTech are awaiting approval of their own version of an Omicron-targeting booster and are expected to make new submissions soon, a public health official told a briefing.

Canada has already purchased 12 million doses of the new Moderna jab, which are expected to be made available to the public at the end of September.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged all Canadians to "get out and get vaccinated."

"Covid is not done with us," he told reporters in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he met with a group of nursing students. "As winter comes and people get pushed back indoors there is a real risk of another serious wave of Covid."

According to government data, 86 percent of eligible Canadians or about 31 million people have received two Covid jabs. But only about half have so far received a booster.

With inputs from AFP.