57 killed in traffic accident in Sudan’s Darfur



At least 57 people were killed in a traffic accident on Thursday evening in Sudan’s North Darfur State, official SUNA news agency reported on Friday.

“The accident took place on Thursday evening at Um Draisai area on the road linking Nyala and El Fasher cities, a few kilometers from Shangil Tobaya area,” the report said.

It added that over 20 people others were injured in the accident, noting that the accident happened when a cargo vehicle carrying passengers collided with a truck transporting small vehicles.

Sudan is among the countries with the highest death rates in traffic accidents, mainly due to careless driving, poor road conditions and poor vehicle scrapping system.



650,000 people affected by floods in Sudan – UN



About 650,000 people have been affected by flash floods caused by heavy rains that hit Sudan in mid-July, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) was cited to have reported that 650,000 people had been affected by floods in 17 out of Sudan’s 18 states.

More than 111,000 houses were either destroyed or damaged.

Floods also destroyed 1,700 ha (4,200 acres) of agricultural land, 179 public facilities (schools, health centres and government offices), 359 shops and warehouses and killed 5,500 head of livestock,’’ the UN agency said in a report.

More than 110,000 people have been affected by floods in the first week of September alone, the OCHA said

It added that nearly 43 per cent of those 650,000 are in the states of Khartoum, North Darfur and Sennar.

“The situation could deteriorate over the coming days, as heavy rains forecast in Ethiopia and several parts of Sudan will likely cause a further increase in water levels in the Blue Nile, leading to more flooding and destruction,’’ the report added.

Since mid-July, Sudan has been experiencing an unusual level of heavy rains, which intensified over the last week.

This has prompted the government to declare a three-month state of emergency in the country.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Virologist says Russian vaccine, Sputnik V, yet to undergo full clinical trials



Dr Solomon Chollom, a Virologist based in Jos, on Thursday said the Russian Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, Sputnik V, has not gone through entire clinical trials protocols.

Chollom told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, that this should be a cause for concern for all health care practitioners and the Nigerian public.

According to him, it is only the full clinical trials that will guarantee evidence-based approval from regulatory bodies and confident use by professionals.

He said that for the purpose of clarity, vaccine development was a combination of intensive laboratory-based work and extensive field or clinical trials to generate evidence around safety, efficacy and potency.

”We are expressing our interest for the COVID-19 vaccine so that we will have the opportunity to work elaborately,” he said.

NAN reports that the Federal Government recently got delivery of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Russian scientists for assessment.

It reports that Russian had earlier said the vaccine was in the third phase of clinical trials and pointers showed promise.

It reports that if eventually passed by authorities after going the full length of clinical trials, it would be the first vaccine to be passed for use against the ravaging pandemic of SARS CoV-2 virus.

Chollom said that clinical trials for vaccines are in four phases.

“Phase one has to do with administration of the candidate vaccine to a very small group of healthy volunteers to assess safety parameters.

”At this stage, the bioavailability and tenure of the vaccine in the target area is also assessed.

“Phase two is usually carried out subsequent to the success of phase one trials.

”A larger group of healthy volunteers is usually mobilised and administered the vaccine and then exposed to the disease-causing agent to assess if they will come down with the disease or stay protected by the administered vaccine.

”This phase is out to generate evidence around the effectiveness (efficacy) and dosage of the product,” he explained.

Chollom said that the success and proven evidence from Phase two would guarantee the Phase three trials.

“Here, the trial is done in a very large population, usually a multi-national study involving volunteers in thousands.

”This stage is peculiar because it brings on board different races, demographics and other possible human and environmental factors under scrutiny.

”Safety, efficacy and most importantly, potency are assessed on a larger scale across many parameters; some are host-specific and others environment-specific.

“Phase III trials usually take a long time. After successful and proven evidence from this phase, regulatory bodies are at liberty to approve the drug for clinical use,” he said.

Chollom said that the last phase was the Phase IV trials. This, he said was usually done as postmarket evaluation/validation of claims on the vaccine.

He said that parameters of safety and efficacy along with emerging realities in the population were generated during this phase in real life experience.

The virologist said that this was critical to monitor safe and efficacious use of the vaccine, adding that Scientists were curious that the Russian vaccine was at best a fast food.

He said this was because it had not gone through the gamut of protocols to generate rounded scientific evidence to convince the world on safety (especially long term adverse effects on essential human organs or the possibility of reversion to a virulent strain or the virus.

Chollom said that the efficacy and potency of a vaccine, given stiff competition from both host and environmental factors that might not have been envisaged.

According to him, this caution is timely in light of the disturbing development over the re-emergence of polio virus in Sudan and Republic of Chad arising from the administration of oral polio vaccine.

“This is coming barely two weeks after Africa was given certificate of freedom from polis virus by World Health Organisation (WHO),” he said.

Chollom, however stated that a little compromise in the process of vaccine development could have severe consequences on safety, efficacy and potency of the vaccine.

He also drew attention to the emerging development as reported by Associated Press that AstraZeneca has put on hold late-stage clinical trials of another Corona vaccine trial as a volunteer in the exercise developed a strange illness.

“The body reported that the halt in the trials was in tandem with global best practices to unravel the cause of the untoward reaction by the volunteer as it raises sincere questions on safety.

“Such is the meticulousness involved in vaccine development process” Chollom added.

NAN reports that no fewer than 25 researchers and scientists worldwide have published and signed a letter stating concerns about the Russian COVID-19 vaccine.

The experts questioned the the legitimacy of the data in a recent article outlining the early clinical trials of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine published in The Lancet.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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Sudan, major rebel group agree to resume peace talks



Sudan’s power-sharing government and a major rebel group active in southern borderlands have agreed to hold new peace talks hosted by South Sudan, both sides said on Friday.

The Office of Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, said on its website.

This happened days after Khartoum signed a peace deal with other groups.

The government agreed the move with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu, one of the groups that did not join a deal signed on Monday to end wars stemming from the rule of ousted leader Omar al-Bashir.

Hilu’s group has now agreed with the Khartoum government on the “necessity” to reach a complete political solution in Sudan and address root the causes of its conflicts, Hamdok said.

It said both sides had agreed to set up workshops for different issues but gave no time-frame or details.

Hilu’s group, one of the biggest rebel forces which controls territory in southern borderlands, confirmed the agreement.

“Yes, it is true. The meeting has taken place in Addis Ababa between us and Prime Minister Hamdok,” Aman Amum, the group’s chief negotiator, said.

“We will continue negotiation under Juba Mediation. So far, there’s no agreed date for the talks.”

There was no immediate comment from South Sudan, which hosted the talks that led to Monday’s deal.

Hilu’s group had originally joined the Juba talks but then suspended its participation.

His group operates in a region inhabited by minority Christians and followers of African beliefs, who complain of long discrimination under Bashir, who was ousted last year, and seek a secular democratic state for the Muslim majority country.

The joint statement published by Hamdok’s office said both sides had agreed to achieve equality for all Sudanese.

Sudan has been riven by conflicts for decades.

After the oil-rich south seceded in 2011, an economic crisis fuelled protests which led to Bashir’s ousting.

Three major groups signed Monday’s deal, including factions from Darfur where more than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since 2003.

Sudan’s civilian and military leaders, who have shared power since then, say ending conflicts is a top priority to help bring democracy and peace to a country in crisis.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
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125,000 IDPs affected by floods in Sudan – UN



Some 125,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sudan have been affected by flash floods caused by heavy rains, UN Refugee Agency spokesperson, Shabia Mantoo, said on Tuesday.

Mantoo said this during a news conference at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

“An estimated 125,000 refugees and IDPs have been affected in total, particularly in East Sudan, White Nile, Darfur and Khartoum, many in urgent need of shelter and other emergency assistance.

“Rains have been particularly heavy in North Darfur, leaving an estimated 35,000 IDPs, locals and refugees in need of help, and where 15 people have tragically died and a further 23 gone missing,’’ Mantoo said.

The official noted substantial damage to the country’s infrastructure and transportation, which makes the delivery of humanitarian aid more challenging.

Since mid-July, Sudan has been experiencing an unusual level of heavy rains, which have caused an outflow of the Blue Nile River.

This had resulted in more than 37,000 homes destroyed and nearly 90 people killed, according to the UN.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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