Fears for ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif as health deteriorates

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Pakistani police commandos escort as a vehicle of Shahbaz Sharif, politician and brother of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, arrives at a hospital to see his brother, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (AP)
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Police officers stand alert outside a hospital where Pakistan former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is admitted in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (AP)
Updated 24 October 2019

Fears for ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif as health deteriorates

  • The 69-year-old was taken to hospital on Tuesday when his blood platelet count dropped to dangerous levels
  • Nawaz Sharif has previously suffered heart problems and has diabetes

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani leader Imran Khan said Thursday he was offering "sincere prayers" for his political rival Nawaz Sharif, after the ex-premier's deteriorating health saw him moved from prison to hospital this week.
Sharif, who served as prime minister three times before he was ousted in 2017, has been serving time in a Lahore jail for corruption.
But the 69-year-old was taken to hospital on Tuesday when his blood platelet count dropped to dangerous levels, local media have reported.
"Political differences notwithstanding, my sincere prayers are with Nawaz Sharif for his health," Khan tweeted Thursday, adding that he had ordered the "best possible health care and medical treatment" for him.
Sharif's younger brother Shahbaz, who took over the leadership of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party after he was jailed, tweeted his concerns earlier this week.
"I am gravely concerned and worried on his fast deteriorating health condition," the younger Sharif wrote Tuesday.
Nawaz Sharif has previously suffered heart problems and has diabetes.
"Several tests are being taken to diagnose the exact nature of the disease and we have serious doubts about his health," another party stalwart, Khawaja Asif, told reporters in Lahore this week.
The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from politics for life over graft allegations in 2017, and he later received a seven-year jail sentence.
He denies all the corruption charges against him and claims he is being targeted by the country's powerful security establishment.
Corruption is widely entrenched in Pakistan, with politicians regularly accused of misusing or stealing public funds and whisking the money out of the country.
Khan's new government, which took power in 2018, has launched a high-profile and controversial anti-corruption drive.


US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 05 August 2020

US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.