Ghana: Press focuses on assurance by FDA of safety, quality of vaccines, others

The assurance by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) that adequate safety and quality assurance has been done in authorising…

The assurance by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) that adequate safety and quality assurance has been done in authorising the two COVID-19 vaccines to be administered in Ghana is one of the trending stories in the Ghanaian press on Tuesday.The Graphic reports that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says adequate safety and quality assurance has been done in authorising the two COVID-19 vaccines to be administered in the country.

It said no safety and efficacy standards were bypassed or compromised, except that the emergency use authorisation pathway allowed for expedited review for the public good.

Giving the assurance in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA, Mrs. Delese Mimi Darko, said the two vaccines were Covishield, AstraZeneca Vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Sputnik-V, manufactured by Generium in Russia.

She said the FDA, listed as a World Health Organisation (WHO) Maturity Level Three Agency and a regional centre of regulatory excellence, had a stable, well-functioning and integrated regulatory system to ensure availability of quality safe and efficacious medical products, including vaccines.

Last Friday, Mrs. Darko, who served on the WHO and the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) Committee on Vaccine Safety to work with leading regulators from around the world to set standards for global vaccine safety, indicated that the FDA had authorised two vaccines to be administered in the country through the emergency use of authorisation pathway.

The newspaper says that the Supreme Court has fixed Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the judgement day for the 2020 presidential election petition.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, has been directed to file his closing written address before the close of day on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

The court had initially ordered all the parties in the petition to file their closing addresses by February 17, 2021.

The two respondents in the petition, (Electoral Commission and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) filed their closing addresses in conformity with the Supreme Court order for all the parties to simultaneously file written addresses on or before Wednesday [February 17, 2021].

However, the legal team for the petitioner, former President John Dramani Mahama did not file their written address as ordered by the court.

They rather filed a review application which challenged the ruling of the court, dated February 11, this year, which overruled an objection by the lawyer for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, against the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) not to adduce evidence.

They also filed an application for stay of proceedings, and urged the court to put the petition on hold until the final determination of the review application.

The Times reports that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has issued a policy to promote and guide the development and use of crowdfunding products and services.

The policy seeks to ensure that crowdfunding services complied with data protection and customer privacy regulations, good governance and accountability, relevant Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism norms, liquidation procedures and the protection of contributors’ interest.

A statement issued by BoG in Accra on Friday and signed by its Secretary, Ms. Sandra Thompson, said under the policy, the general public was to access crowdfunding products provided by regulated entities, for their donation needs, for improved disclosure, transparency and accountability.

Locally known as “susu”, “nnoboa” or “ntoboa”, crowdfunding involves the collection of funds, usually in small amounts from individuals, to support projects or causes and has been traditionally employed by families, groups or communities to mobilise money to meet the needs of their members.

BoG indicated that policy was in line with its commitment to promote the modernisation of the banking industry, in a manner that meet the needs of diverse groups of people, so as to promote financial inclusion.

The newspaper says that Novartis and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have signed an agreement to embark on further studies to find a cure for Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

A statement issued by the Sickle Cell Foundation and copied to the Ghanaian Times said, as part of the agreement, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would provide funding support for the discovery and development of a single-administration, in vivo gene therapy to cure sickle cell disease (SCD).

The Group Head of Corporate Affairs and Global Health for Novartis, Lutz Hegemann in his remarks said: “Novartis is proud to lead this effort to find an accessible genetic therapy for sickle cell disease, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

 “In keeping with our purpose, we firmly believe we can use science and innovation to reimagine the way SCD is treated for patients around the world,” he stressed.

A hematologist and President of the Novartis Institutes for Bio-Medical Research, JayBradner, said: “Existing gene therapy approaches to sickle cell disease are difficult to deliver at scale and there are obstacles to reaching the vast majority of those affected by this debilitating disease.”