Daily number of coronavirus tests, active cases plummets in Pakistan
NIH data shows about 100 more infections, one death: Recovery rate also slows down: EU watchdog approves vaccine targeting Omicron sub-variants
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The number of everyday coronavirus tests and daily count of active cases have nosedived as Pakistan recorded about 100 single-day Covid-19 infections and one fatality during the last 24 hours (Monday), suggested the statistics released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Tuesday morning, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
According to NIH data, the death toll in the country inched up to 30,600 while the number of total infections now stood at 1,571,295 after adding the fresh 99 cases.
During the last 24 hours (Monday), 9,161 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 1.08 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 89.
COVID-19 Statistics 13 September 2022— NIH Pakistan (@NIH_Pakistan) September 13, 2022
Total Tests in Last 24 Hours: 9,161
Positive Cases: 99
Positivity %: 1.08%
Patients on Critical Care: 89
During the last 24 hours (Monday), another 148 patients have recovered from the Covid-19 in Pakistan and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,535,109. As of Tuesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 5,586.
As many as 593,781 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 521,842 in Punjab, 224,009 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 139,340 in Islamabad, 35,977 in Balochistan, 44,305 in Azad Kashmir and 12,041 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
As many as 13,610 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,236 in Sindh, 6,361 in KP, 1,031 in Islamabad, 793 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.
EU watchdog approves vaccine targeting Omicron sub-variants
The EU's medicines watchdog on Monday approved a vaccine specifically targeting the new and contagious types of the Omicron variant amid fears of a new wave of Covid-19 winter infections.
The so-called "bivalent" jab, made by Pfizer/BioNTech, is directed at the highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 types of the variant and is the first of its kind to be approved within the 27-nation bloc.
"This recommendation will further extend the arsenal of available vaccines to protect people against Covid-19 as the pandemic continues and new waves of infections are anticipated in the cold season," the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said.
The vaccine also targets "the original strain of SARS-CoV-2" and comes 11 days after the Amsterdam-based drug watchdog approved vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna against the Omicron BA.1 variant.
The latest shot is aimed at people over 12 and who have already received at least one primary vaccination against the coronavirus, and it is an adaptive version of Pfizer's original Comirnaty vaccine.
European nations have been keen to rush through the new generation of jabs so they can start booster campaigns ahead of a feared Covid surge in the latter part of this year.
The latest vaccines "better match the circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 and are expected to provide broader protection against different variants," the EMA said.
"Prompt assessment of the available data on these adapted vaccines will enable their timely deployment in the autumn vaccination campaigns," it added.
The EMA's recommendation -- which will now be sent to the European Commission for a final decision -- was specifically based on clinical data from Pfizer's vaccines aimed at the original virus and the Omicron BA.1 variant.
- New wave feared -
"Apart from containing mRNA matching different, but closely related, Omicron sub-variants, Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.4-5 and Comirnaty Original/Omicron BA.1 have the same composition," the EMA said.
Pfizer's vaccine works on the principle of tiny molecules carrying instructions for the human body to temporarily produce spike proteins similar to those found on the coronavirus -- and which it uses to enter the body's cells.
The body's immune system recognises the spike protein as foreign and activates natural defences against them.
When a person then comes in contact with the real virus, the body's immune system will also recognise and attack it.
The United States authorised its first anti-Omicron vaccines late last month, approving Pfizer and Moderna jabs for the BA.4 and BA.5 strains.
Britain authorised the Moderna vaccine for the BA.1 type in mid-August.
While the original vaccines, approved nearly two years ago provided some protection against newer coronavirus variants, the race had been on to come out with a newer group of vaccines that also target the milder but more infectious Omicron strains.
While previous "variants of concern" like Alpha and Delta eventually petered out, Omicron and its sub-lineages have dominated throughout 2022.
The BA.4 and BA.5 types have in particular helped to drive a wave of new cases of the disease in Europe and the United States in recent months.
All Omicron variants tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms like fever, tiredness and loss of smell.
With inputs from AFP.