Overwhelmed weekend: Colombia reports 32,317 new covid-19 infections

File photo of a nurse preparing a dose of the covid-19 vaccine in Bogotá, Colombia. EFE / Carlos Ortega

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection reported, this Sunday, January 16, 2022, 32,317 new cases of covid-19 in Colombia. In the last 24 hours 82,634 tests were processed of which 35,396 are PCR and 47,238 antigens.

The report also indicates that 136 Colombians died from the disease in the last day. In this way, the country reaches a total of 130,996 deaths due to the virus since the start of the pandemic.

By conglomerating all the figures, Colombia reached a total of 5,543,796 infections, of which 173,106 are active cases and 5,220,543 correspond to positive cases that have already managed to overcome the disease.

As for the regions with the most reported cases, Bogotá leads with 8,390 infected, followed by Valle del Cauca with 3,726 infections and Antioquia in third place with 2,844 cases.

There are 313 conglomerates in the country. LThe territories are: Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlántico, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bolívar, Boyacá, Buenaventura, Caldas, Caquetá, Cartagena, Casanare, Cauca, Cesar, Chocó, Córdoba, Cundinamarca, Guainía, Guaviare, Huila, La Guajira, Magdalena , Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Quindío, Risaralda, San Andrés, Santa Marta, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, Valle del Cauca, Vaupés, Vichada.

The most recent report from the Ministry of Health also indicates that until 11:59 on Tuesday, January 13, 2022, a total of 67.904.417 dose of the covid-19 vaccine.

According to the same report, the number of fully vaccinated Colombians, that is, those who have already received the two doses of the biological, currently amounts to 24,351,079 people, while 5,476,604 people have been immunized with a single dose. Equally, 4,382,955 booster doses have been applied.

Similarly, during the last day a total of 307,314 were applied, of which 112,631 correspond to the second injection while another 17,606 were single doses.

Vaxthera, a company in charge of research regarding the vaccine that is being developed in Colombia against the coronavirus, delivered a positive balance on the use of the substance. The biological had positive results in the experiments carried out on some animals, so it is expected that it can start with humans during the first half of this year. Jorge Osorio, president of that entity, described the results as “fabulous.” The drug, he stressed, is different from those offered by laboratories such as Johnson & Johnson and Astrazeneca.

“So far the results they have given us have been fabulous. The vaccine has protected mice, and we are evaluating the vaccine in a primate model, also with spectacular results (…) It is a well-known vector that was used for eradication from smallpox a long time ago is very safe in humans”, highlighted Jorge Osorio, president of Vaxthera, who also explained that the animals that served to advance the drug studies were mice and primates.

By 2023, assuming positive testing of the drug in people is completed, the vaccine is expected to be on the market. The idea is that, having the substance finally defined, The goal of the Ministry of Health to produce more than 100 million vaccines against the coronavirus per year begins to be met.

It was on December 16, 2021 when from the presidency of the country, headed by Iván Duque, it was reported that Colombia had regained its sovereignty in the production of vaccines. “Thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the Providence Therapeutics company and the Vaxthera company, a historic event that consolidates the Government-private sector alliance for the well-being of Colombians”, reads the president’s Twitter account.

“Recover the capacity to produce vaccines, the primary strategy for the country’s health security. The National Plan of the Ministry of Health for the Production of Vaccines produces first fruits. We hope that there will be more good news soon”, commented, for his part, the head of that portfolio, Fernando Ruíz.

It was in June 2021 when Sura announced the creation of this new specialized agency. According to what was detailed, the company resulted after a projected investment of 54 million dollars by Seguros SURA and the “knowledge of researchers, led by Jorge Emilio Osorio Benítez, PhD, with more than 30 years of experience in vaccine research and development.” As reported by the Sura group, at that time, VaxThera was advancing the development of vaccines against diseases such as, in addition to coronavirus, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, influenza, and Zika.

The vaccine to combat covid-19, for that month, was in the pre-clinical testing phase in Wisconsin, in the United States. “This will serve as a booster vaccine, which will facilitate acquisition and distribution processes”, reads the press release in which the information was exposed.

“Different world institutions and health experts have repeatedly warned that the world must prepare for future pandemics, in order to deploy all human, technological and logistical capacities to protect populations. Aware of this situation and seeking to protect life, at Seguros SURA we decided to invest in the creation of VaxThera, as this articulation will allow us to advance in biotechnology, as well as develop and strengthen capacities that make Colombia a determining actor for Latin America”said Juan David Escobar, president of Seguros Sura, in those days.

The Colombian president, Iván Duque, in December 2021, assured that by signing the memorandum of understanding, by which Vaxthera is allowed to develop a vaccine production plant in the country, the construction of said work is enabled from February this year, 2022, in Rionegro, Antioquia. “This investment in alliance with Providence, will allow in June 2022 to have production of small batches of vaccines to grow its scale and production, not only in covid-19 vaccines, but in other pathologies”, he added.

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