Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 90 Percent Effective
In what could be an end to the COVID-19 menace, Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech latest vaccine has been found to be more than 90 percent effective in coronavirus.
The good news is that the vaccine could be available by the end of the year if authorities approve it.
Pfizer and BioNTech result was the first independent analysis of any COVID-19 vaccine in phase 3 trials— the final stage before commercial licensing. Out of the 43,000 trial participants, the small number who were infected enabled the independent evaluators to calculate the effectiveness after two doses.
“To me, this is the best possible outcome,” Ugur Sahin, co-founder and chief executive of BioNTech told the Financial Times, while Pfizer boss Albert Bourla said it was “a great day for science and humanity”.
The drug is expected to be submitted to authorities for emergency approval in the third week of November, ahead of other vaccine developers. Former vaccine frontrunner Moderna does not expect to have the trial data required to go for approval until November 25, while AstraZeneca’s partnership with the University of Oxford expects results by the end of this year.
Pfizer shares jumped almost 15 per cent in pre-market trading in New York, while Nasdaq-listed BioNTech rose 25 per cent.
The Pfizer results far exceed the US Food and Drug Administration’s criteria for approving a Covid-19 vaccine, which mandates an efficacy of at least 50 per cent in placebo-controlled trials. No vaccine is 100 per cent effective, according to the World Health Organization.
Pfizer and BioNTech said that up to 50m doses of the vaccine — which would be the first vaccine to use novel mRNA technology — could be manufactured this year, and a further 1.3bn doses produced in 2021.
Global equity markets rallied sharply after Pfizer’s announcement, led by travel and leisure companies that have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus crisis.
British Airways parent IAG soared by a third in London, while Air France KLM jumped 30 per cent in Paris and Ryanair climbed 16 per cent in Dublin. Oil prices, which have been knocked by the pandemic’s effects on demand for fuel, also added to earlier gains. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 8.5 per cent at $42.83 in recent trading.
The US has secured orders for 100m doses of the shot, with an option to acquire another 500m, while the UK has an agreement to procure 30m doses. A deal for the supply of 200m doses to the EU is under negotiation.
Mr Sahin said BioNTech and Pfizer would “use a fair approach” when it came to distributing the first doses of the vaccine, adding that they would prioritise deliveries to countries where it had been approved for use.
“This looks really good,” said Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading. “Of all the current vaccine currently in development the BioNTech product always looked like the most bang-per-buck as it is entirely focused on the part of the virus that binds to the human cell, the receptor binding domain.”
“The questions around its use were about the ability to manufacture at scale and the possible toxicity associated with a directly injected RNA product. The trial data show excellent results on both of those areas, really impressive protection and no reported adverse events,” he added.
Brendan Wren, professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said 90 per cent efficacy was “excellent for a new vaccine”, while adding a note of caution. “It is a case of ‘so far so good’ but more confirmatory safety and efficacy studies are required.”
BioNTech’s Mr Sahin said he expected the vaccine’s immune response to last for “at least one year”, adding that the vaccine-induced antibodies were shown to block about 20 different mutations of Sars-Cov-2. “There’s a very low likelihood that a [mutation of] the virus can overcome the immune response,” he predicted.
Africa Business Heroes Announces Top 50 Finalists; 12 Nigerians Qualifies
The Top 50 finalists have been chosen from 12,000+ entries, selected by a prestigious pool of 233 judges; 16 countries from Africa represented in the Top 50; 38% of Top 50 candidates are female entrepreneurs; 10% are Francophone; Top 50 finalists will progress to an ABH virtual boot camp and further judging. Top 20 to be announced in August.
Among the 50 finalists, 12 Nigerians qualified are Adebowale Odulana of Doctoora E-Health Ltd, Ebinabo Ofrey of GeroCare Solutions Ltd, Oghenetega Iortim of Gricd, Abiodun Adereni of HelpMum, Olorunishola Aje of IDEAS IN FUSION LIMITED, Leslie Emenalo of Kobopay, Ige Atiba of Laughkord Consult and Resources Limited, YETUNDE OYALOWO of Market Doctors-Social Enterprise, Chidi Nwaogu of Publiseer, Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf Marketplace Nigeria Limited, OLAGOKE BALOGUN of So Fresh Neighbourhood Market Limited, and Godwin Benson of Tuteria.
Africa’s Business Heroes the flagship philanthropic program for the Jack Ma Foundation in Africa has announced the top 50 finalists for the 2021 ABH prize competition.
These 50 African entrepreneurs are in the running to win a share of USD 1.5 million in grant funding and will gain invaluable networking and learning opportunities throughout their Africa Business Heroes journey.
Since applications closed in early June, a prestigious pool of 233 judges has been reviewing thousands of applications from entrepreneurs across every country in Africa.
During this first round, judges were looking for visionary entrepreneurs who are providing innovative, robust solutions to problems in their communities. They were focused on identifying passionate professionals that demonstrated an exceptional work ethic, financial sustainability and growth potential.
Jason Pau, Executive Director of International, Jack Ma Foundation noted, “in the face of incredibly difficult conditions over the past year, Africa’s entrepreneurs have shown incredible resilience and innovation.
The top 50 of the 2021 Africa Business Heroes competition are a true testament to this, and we are excited to support these talented entrepreneurs as they continue to grow and generate positive impact.”
Sixteen countries are represented in the Top 50, 10% of which are Francophone. They include Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nigeria has the largest cohort with 12 in the Top 50. Women are well-represented, making up 38% of the Top 50.
There is an enormous diversity in the type of businesses, with sixteen different sectors, represented including agriculture, beauty & wellness, construction, consulting, education, energy, environmental protection, financial services, F&B, healthcare, ICT, logistics, manufacturing, media & entertainment, retail and transportation.
From here, the Top 50 will participate in an ABH virtual boot camp to engage with and learn from business leaders as well as previous ABH winners.
The boot camp will prepare them for the next round of interviews with the Round 2 judges, after which the Top 20 will be identified and announced in August.
The Top 10 will be announced in late September before they go on to the grand finale where they will pitch live to global business legends and secure their share of the USD 1.5 million prize pool.
For more information on 2021 Top 50, please visit the dedicated section on the Africa Business Heroes official website. To join these dynamic and inspiring entrepreneurs on their ABH journey, visit here.
The Voice Nigeria Honours Late Sound Sultan as Race For N10m, Other Prizes Enters Final Stage
Late legendary Nigerian rapper, singer and lyricist, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi popularly called Sound Sultan who passed on July 11 was honoured with a medley performance of his songs by the celebrity coaches and their talents as a glowing tribute in recognition and celebration of his contribution to the music industry.
Sound Sultan, a highly influential but jovial and unassuming singer is renowned to have mentored many award-winning musicians and wrote many hit songs.
The grand finale of the Voice Nigeria Season 3 is billed for this weekend, with the top six talents seeking viewers and fans’ votes to win the N10m grand prize and other mouth-watering gifts.
Meanwhile, Episode 17 saw great vocalists Anu and Nuel Ayo exit the show while Naomi Mac, Esther, Dapo, Kitay, Kpee and Eazzie continued the race as the last six out of the 25 talents who scaled the Auditions and started the contest.
Kitay in Team Yemi-Alade, Dapo and Naomi Mac in Team Falz, Eazzie in Team Waje with Esther and Kpee in Team Dare all survived by numerous votes from their fans.
The race to the finals of the Voice Nigeria season 3 continues to heat up as the six finalists gun for the N10 million cash, a car, and a record deal with Universal Music Nigeria.
During Episode 17 last weekend, the last six vocalists performed various songs and are hoping with their powerful performances to get maximum votes from fans for a chance to remain in the competition.
Esther opened the weekly show with a beautiful performance of Beyonce’s Love on Top, then Dapo with Michael Bolton’s When A Man Loves A Woman, followed by Kitay with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.
Naomi Mac sang Brenda Fassie’s Vuli Ndlela, Kpee with Fireboy’s Vibration while a very emotional Eazzie closed out with I’m Not Telling You by Jennifer Holiday before Host, Nancy Isime announced that Season 4 will be coming soon.
Episode 18 which comes up this weekend will have only four talents perform and fight for the grand prize via the highest viewers votes while the two talents with the least votes are dropped.
To keep their favourite vocalists on the show, viewers have to dial *894*7*talent’s code#.
The voting code of your preferred contestant to win the competition is in the embedded Instagram post below:
Voting, which opened on Saturday at 9:00 pm, closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday (today).
For over three months, with an electrifying mix of pulsating musical performances, music training, glamorous fashion and awesome entertainment, The Voice Nigeria 3 continues to dazzle to the very grand finale.
UN1TY Limited and Livespot360, producers of the global talents reality series, also emphasised that public voting has become very crucial at this final stage to keep participants on the voice Nigeria season 3, as sponsored by FirstBank, Baba Ijebu and Airtel.
Scores of vocalists have performed on the highly competitive musical TV reality series but dropped out going through the Auditions, Blinds, Knockouts, Battles and Live Show stages.
Whoever emerges as the winner will automatically make his or her coach the winning coach of the season. Waje, who has been part of the show since its inception, won the inaugural season.
Apart from versatile singers including Darey, Yemi Alade, Waje and Falz who doubled as both celebrity coaches and judges, Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa, co-hosts of the show have added great colour to the third season.
The first season of The Voice Nigeria was broadcast on Africa Magic from April 10 to July 31, 2016.
Agharese Emokpae popularly known as A’rese, a 28-year-old stage actress, won the first season while Daniel Diongoli, professionally known as Idyl, won season 2.
The music reality TV show is designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars.
Lead show sponsor, First Bank in a statement by its Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney, reiterated that The Voice Nigeria 3 is a Reality TV show designed to discover and promote talented singers to actualise their dreams of becoming international stars which aligns with First Bank’s commitment to providing a platform for nurturing
and showcasing talents and driving social cohesion.
The Financial giant added that its support for The Voice Nigeria 3 is a demonstration of First Bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of US$86m by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.
For more details on the show, do visit the Bank’s official website https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/the-voice-nigeria/
The Growth of Digital Gifting in Nigeria
Over the past decade, Digital gifting has significantly evolved. This can be heavily attributed to technology which has created awareness and attractiveness about them. The growth in the gift card market is due to the rise in demand for gift cards in various sectors, including the corporate sector.
What is Digital Gifting?
You may be wondering, “what exactly is digital gifting?” What does it entail? and how does it work? Digital gift cards are Electronic gift cards sent by retailers usually to your Email after payment. Electronic gift cards perform the same function as physical cards, they both have Gift codes and can both be used as an alternative means of payment the major difference is Digital gift cards cannot be held unless it’s printed.
Thanks to technology, everybody can get their hands on an E-card from the comfort of their homes and offices. Retailers are all over the internet, all you need to do is search for the particular brand you want and amount on secure websites.
Many brands over the years have incorporated digital gift cards to avoid being left behind. Recently, Card owners now enjoy funding their Digital cards due to the ease it provides when it comes to making payments. Also, some of these E gift cards have high cashback value when considering selling the gift code. Which has created a bit of confidence in the minds of Card owners. The fact that purchasing these cards is not permanent provides a sense of relief. However, you should ensure to watch out for the fakes and trade on trusted platforms. A recent gift card survey stated that consumers tend to go for reloadable gift cards over regular gift cards as they can reuse them.
The request and sales for digital over paper ones skyrocketed in the past decade. Studies have hinged this on environmental issues as regards plastics. It is also projected that physical gift cards may soon be outdated.
A gift card survey once said ‘The growth in e-gifting sales, from $300 million in 2012 to an expected $3 billion this year, supports a healthy trajectory of growth for the market as a whole.’
The e-gifting trend has helped propel continued growth in the gift card market. Over $140 billion in sales since 2016. E-gifting has topped $10 billion and filled a niche for customers looking to buy and send their gifts to recipients they do not have to meet in person.
In 2020, the adoption of e-Gift cards increased tremendously during the global pandemic; covid-19.
This trend boosted the continued growth in the gift card market with an excess of $140 billion in sales since 2016. Digital gifting is advantageous and eliminates the process of having to meet the recipient in person before the gift card can be received.
Due to its convenience and flexibility, digital gifting has added a significant impact to the gift card industry. It has also brought about various considerations to limit or reduce the number of physical card productions.
In the United States alone, the gift card industry is expected to record a compound annual growth of 9.2% during 2020-2024. The market is expected to increase from US$ 163,050.7 million in 2019 to US$ 221,146.6 million by 2024. These numbers are estimated on the continued adoption of physical and digital gift cards by millennials, rising e-commerce, and an increase in demand for cryptocurrencies in the USA.
We are now in a time where the world is conforming to Blockchain technology, digital currencies and gifting. People are finding alternative and easier methods of making payments. As a brand to further provide convenience for your customers, you should seriously consider how to incorporate Gift cards into your business if you are not already on board.
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