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Unusually high number of vaccinated people have been testing positive for coronavirus in Seychelles; US doctor trapped there suspects faulty testing

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  • Unusually high number of vaccinated people have been testing positive for coronavirus in Seychelles; US doctor trapped there suspects faulty testing

    Honeymooning Denver couple forced to quarantine in Seychelles as WHO investigates island?s COVID test data
    Unusually high number of vaccinated people have been testing positive for coronavirus in Seychelles
    By Meg Wingerter | | The Denver Post
    May 17, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

    A year after the pandemic canceled their honeymoon, a Denver couple hoped to finally celebrate with a trip to the Seychelles and South Africa.
    They got to enjoy about half of it before being ordered into isolation because of COVID-19.
    Shivani Pathak, a medical resident at the University of Colorado?s Anschutz Medical Campus, said she and her husband, Bo Sutton, both are vaccinated and spent most of their time outdoors during their first days in the Seychelles, so her positive test before they were scheduled to fly to South Africa for the second half of the trip was a shock.
    They had both tested negative before leaving Colorado.

    The two vaccines used in the Seychelles, Sinopharm and AstraZeneca, have somewhat lower effectiveness than the shots commonly used in the United States, but it?s not clear if the unusual results reflect a testing failure or a problem with the Sinopharm vaccine.

    Pathak said she can?t be absolutely certain that she isn?t one of the unlucky few who gets infected after vaccination, but suspects it was a mistake.

    The person conducting the tests didn?t change gloves between samples, which introduced the possibility that one positive test could have contaminated others, or it?s possible the lab also made errors, she said. She arranged for an antigen test in the hotel room where they?re isolated, which was negative, but the Seychelles? Ministry of Health said it has to treat all initial positives as correct...


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      Seychelles’s Covid Mysteries Pit Anti-Vaxxers Against Scientists
      Antony Sguazzin and Jason Gale 7 hrs ago

      (Bloomberg Businessweek) -- For epidemiologists, the past year and a half has been a voyage of discovery. Recently their journey aboard SARS-CoV-2 took an unexpected turn toward Seychelles, a palm-fringed archipelago in the Indian Ocean with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants. A country that few could pinpoint on a map suddenly became internet-famous as the most vaccinated nation on Earth, with 64% of the population having received the requisite two shots. Yet to the surprise of virologists—and the dismay of the government, which had been counting on the immunization drive to reopen the tourism-dependent economy—the infection count has been ticking up. As of May 13 a third of active cases—about 900 in all—were among residents who’d been fully vaccinated.

      Vaccine skeptics pronounced themselves vindicated, while international health experts have been scrambling to answer a host of questions without the benefit of robust data. Did one or both of the vaccines used in Seychelles fail? Has herd immunity not been reached? Is the nation grappling with a more infectious variant capable of evading the defenses that certain types of vaccines provide?

      “So what’s going on?” asked Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosecurity at the Sydney campus of the University of New South Wales, during an online presentation on May 18. “It’s probably that the herd immunity threshold hasn’t been reached, plus or minus, if it’s the South African variant in there.”

      The answers to the questions MacIntyre and other experts are posing may influence the future course of the pandemic. For starters, the tiny nation has become a test case for two of the world’s most widely used vaccines. In the Seychelles, 57% of the vaccinated population received Sinopharm’s shot, and 43% got the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc. Sinopharm’s inoculation has been donated or sold to countries around the globe, including Indonesia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe; Covishield makes up the bulk of shots distributed to poor nations in Africa and elsewhere through the Covax initiative, which seeks to make vaccine distribution more equitable.

      What’s happening in Seychelles is very different from the experience of Israel, the second-most vaccinated nation, where Covid-19 infections have plummeted. The contrast could yield crucial insights into the efficacy of the different types of immunizations. In Israel the dominant vaccine was the messenger ribonucleic acid shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE....