Vaccines and Global Health: The Week in Review :: 04 July 2020

UNICEF and WHO support national immunization campaign in Syria amid COVID-19 pandemic

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

UNICEF and WHO support national immunization campaign in Syria amid COVID-19 pandemic
Damascus, 29 June 2020 – With an aim to maintain vital routine immunization services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a national immunization campaign supported by WHO and UNICEF has concluded across Syria. During the 5-day campaign, implemented by the Syrian Ministry of Health, health workers checked the vaccination status of more than 900 000 children and vaccinated more than 210 100 children to ensure they are caught up with the routine immunization schedule.

Over 1000 health centres, 545 mobile teams, 666 temporary vaccination posts and more than 8000 health workers were mobilized for the campaign. In-line with WHO global guidelines, health workers were trained on preventative and precautionary measures, including disinfection, hygiene protocols and overcrowding prevention. In addition, they were provided with personal protection equipment for their safety and that of children and caregivers during the immunization campaign.

“No child should miss out on their vaccinations, now more than ever” says Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria, “These are difficult times, parents may feel overwhelmed with worries. Our message to them is clear: make sure your kids receive their routine immunizations to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases. When vaccination coverage goes down, more outbreaks will occur, including of life-threatening diseases like measles and polio.”…

WHO and UNICEF noted in a joint health brief published this month that health care disruptions due to COVID-19 could have a devastating impact on child mortality in the Middle East and North Africa. The full and safe resumption of immunization campaigns as well as nutrition services, while following strict precautionary measures for infection prevention, are key to helping tens of thousands of children reach their fifth year of age in good health.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access virtual conference [24-25 June 2020]

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

African Union; Africa CDC
COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access virtual conference [24-25 June 2020]
Communique from Africa’s Leadership
30 June 2020
We, African Union Ministers of Health and Heads of Delegation gathered on 24–25 June 2020 for the virtual conference to develop a vaccine strategy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Africa.
Preamble
RECALLING the Heads of State and Government’s Declaration in July 2013 at the African Union Special Summit on HIV, TB and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, in which African leaders recognised the need for an Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to conduct life-saving research on priority health challenges and to serve as a platform to share knowledge and build capacity to respond to public health emergencies and threats in Africa.
NOTING that the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2014 devoted to responding to the Ebola virus disease outbreak, African leaders formally endorsed an accelerated timeline to launch Africa CDC, together with its five Regional Collaborating Centres.
FURTHER NOTING that Africa CDC was launched in January 2017 and established as a specialised technical institution of the African Union, with the responsibility of promoting the control and prevention of diseases in Africa.
CONSCIOUS of the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 30 January 2020, and declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, having infected over 9 million persons and caused the deaths of nearly half a million persons globally – including more than 350,000 cases and 9,000 deaths on the African continent.
ALSO CONSCIOUS of the fact that any further potential spread of COVID-19 on the continent is a social, economic, and security threat for Africa, and that the African Union Agenda 2063, which is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years, will be severely disrupted by disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 if there are no measures for timely coordination, collaboration, communication, and cooperation.
COGNISANT that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across our continent, which will compound the existing health challenges that Africa already faces, including: (1) rapid population growth leading to increased population movement across the continent and the world; (2) existing endemic diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria, (re-) emerging infectious diseases, and the ascendance of antimicrobial resistance; (3) increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases and injuries; (4) persistently high maternal mortality rates; (5) threats posed by environmental toxins; and (6) fragile health infrastructure, with limited resilience to numerous disease outbreaks.
RECALLING the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 to 4 July 2017; in which the Heads of State expressed deep concern about the increasing recurrence of epidemics on our continent and their enormous socio-economic impact, as well as the inadequate implementation of the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR). As such, they committed to: (1) accelerate the implementation of IHR at national, provincial and local levels with a clear roadmap and monitoring mechanisms; (2) institute multi-sectorial mechanisms to accelerate the implementation of IHR; and (3) mobilise the necessary resources to implement the roadmaps for acceleration of implementation of IHR.
FURTHER RECALLING the WHO’s role in managing IHR capacity development in Member States.
NOTING the duty and political mandate of national public health institutes (NPHIs) to respond to PHEIC, working in partnership with WHO and all relevant stakeholders.
ALSO NOTING the strong evidence that health security depends on the establishment of resilient and adaptive national health systems, with a clearly defined public health coordination mechanism.
RECALLING that during the 22 February 2020 emergency meeting of African Ministers of Health, Ministers endorsed the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak, including Africa CDC’s leadership role in coordinating the response on the continent.
RECOGNISING the efforts by African Union Member States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on how the continent can prepare for the research and development, manufacturing, procurement, financing, delivery and uptake of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
The Conference on Africa’s Leadership on COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access
COLLECTIVELY agrees that identifying and scaling-up an effective COVID-19 vaccine is critical to slow the spread of the disease, protect vulnerable populations and ultimately return our society and economies back to normal and towards Africa’s broader global development agenda.
RECOGNISE the barriers that intellectual property, including patents, trade secrets and other technological knowhow has posed to timely introduction of affordable vaccines in developing countries in the past.
ACKNOWLEDGE this experience, noting that there is an urgent need for countries to make full use of legal and policy measures, including flexibilities enshrined under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Doha Declaration, South-South and North-South collaboration to ensure monopolies do not stand in the way of access to COVID-19 vaccines.
COMMEND the efforts of Africa CDC to coordinate implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak and to rapidly establish an Africa COVID-19 vaccine development and access strategy, which will serve as the roadmap to better coordinate and scale-up efforts across Africa. The strategy will have two major prongs:
[i] securing sufficient vaccine supply; and
[ii] removing barriers to vaccine roll-out
WELCOME the close collaboration between Africa CDC, WHO, African Vaccine Regulatory Forum as well as other relevant stakeholders in supporting countries to strengthen their capacity to adopt and scale-up a vaccine for COVID-19, once clinical approval of a viable vaccine candidate is achieved.
(i) Securing Sufficient Vaccine Supply
ADVOCATE for Africa to receive a sufficient global allocation for timely access to a potential COVID-19 vaccine, including partnership with the COVAX facility within the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative, and additional support from partner countries and regional bodies.
CALL FOR an equitable and timely distribution of vaccine supply within the African continent, both across and within countries, taking into account equity in gender and socioeconomic status.
CALL UPON the African Union Commission, donors, and partners to support Africa’s efforts to secure the necessary vaccine supply by providing the necessary financial resources.
ALSO CALL UPON all countries to remove all obstacles, including, but not limited to, the use of the flexibilities provided in the TRIPS agreement, in line with the recommendations of the 73rd World Health Assembly resolution on the COVID-19 response, to ensure that all relevant technologies, intellectual property, data and know how are openly and immediately made available and rapidly scaled-up.
FURTHER CALL UPON African Union Member States to raise domestic resources to support the efforts to secure upfront vaccine supplies for the continent.
(ii) Removing Barriers to Vaccine Roll-out
DEVELOP a continent-wide clinical trial network to better connect organisations that are supporting efforts to test potential vaccine candidates; a network responsible for sharing information, resources, and knowledge in order to increase the data on vaccine efficacy and safety for the African population.
ENABLE an effective regulatory control structure for the vaccine, which includes implementing indemnification for vaccine manufacturers, fast-tracked regulatory approvals at country level, and a robust infrastructure for ongoing monitoring of vaccine efficacy and safety.
ENSURE that the vaccine can be effectively delivered to target populations by strengthening distribution and supply chain networks in countries, and deploying innovative delivery models to reach the people in need.
DRIVE a set of community engagement efforts across the continent to better inform key opinion leaders and the general public on the need for the vaccine and the benefit thereof, to ensure effective uptake and minimise the dissemination of inaccurate public health information.
PARTNER and collaborate with relevant global stakeholders to enable technology transfer to ramp up domestic vaccine production capacity so that Africa can better control its supply of the vaccine over time.
REQUEST the African Union Commission and Africa CDC to follow-up on the implementation of Africa COVID-19 vaccines development and access strategy, and report to the African Union Heads of State and Government regularly and seek collaboration with United Nations agencies and other partners.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Action to Help Facilitate Timely Development of Safe, Effective COVID-19 Vaccines

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Action to Help Facilitate Timely Development of Safe, Effective COVID-19 Vaccines
June 30, 2020
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took important action to help facilitate the timely development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent COVID-19 by providing guidance with recommendations for those developing COVID-19 vaccines for the ultimate purpose of licensure. The guidance, which reflects advice the FDA has been providing over the past several months to companies, researchers, and others, describes the agency’s current recommendations regarding the data needed to facilitate the manufacturing, clinical development, and approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We recognize the urgent need to develop a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and continue to work collaboratively with industry, researchers, as well as federal, domestic, and international partners to accelerate these efforts. While the FDA is committed to expediting this work, we will not cut corners in our decisions and are making clear through this guidance what data should be submitted to meet our regulatory standards. This is particularly important, as we know that some people are skeptical of vaccine development efforts,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We have not lost sight of our responsibility to the American people to maintain our regulatory independence and ensure our decisions related to all medical products, including COVID-19 vaccines, are based on science and the available data. This is a commitment that the American public can have confidence in and one that I will continue to uphold.”

Vaccines have been highly effective in preventing a range of serious infectious diseases. The FDA has the scientific expertise to evaluate any potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate regardless of the technology used to produce or to administer the vaccine. This includes the different technologies such as DNA, RNA, protein and viral vectored vaccines being developed by commercial vaccine manufacturers and other entities.

“In this particular crisis in which there is so much at stake, we need to help expedite vaccine development as much as we can without sacrificing our standards for quality, safety, and efficacy. We firmly believe that transparency regarding the FDA’s current thinking about the scientific data needed to support approval of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help build public confidence in the FDA’s evaluation process, which will be critical in ensuring their use,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Right now, neither the FDA nor the scientific community can predict how quickly data will be generated from vaccine clinical trials. Once data are generated, the agency is committed to thoroughly and expeditiously evaluating it all. But make no mistake: the FDA will only approve or make available a COVID-19 vaccine if we determine that it meets the high standards that people have come to expect of the agency.”

The guidance published today, “Development and Licensure of Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19,” provides an overview of key considerations to satisfy requirements for chemistry, manufacturing and control, nonclinical and clinical data through development and licensure, and for post-licensure safety evaluation. Importantly, given the current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunology, the goal of development programs at this time should be to support traditional FDA approval by conducting studies to directly evaluate the ability of the vaccine to protect humans from SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or disease.

The FDA strongly encourages the inclusion of diverse populations in all phases of clinical development, including populations most affected by COVID-19, specifically racial and ethnic minorities, as well as adequate representation in late phase trials of elderly individuals and those with medical comorbidities. Sponsors are also encouraged to include studies in their development plans that would provide data to support use during pregnancy, as well as plan for pediatric assessments of safety and effectiveness.

 

The guidance also discusses the importance of ensuring that the sizes of clinical trials are large enough to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine. It conveys that the FDA would expect that a COVID-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50% of people who are vaccinated.

Additionally, after approval by the FDA, the safety of all vaccines, including a COVID-19 vaccine, continues to be closely monitored using various existing surveillance systems. The FDA may also require post-marketing studies to further assess known or potential serious risks.

The guidance also notes that, as more is learned about SARS-CoV-2 immunology and vaccine immune responses, consideration may be given to the FDA’s Accelerated Approval pathway for vaccine licensure. However, identification of an immune response or other measure that is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit would be needed for a specific vaccine candidate to use of this pathway. Due to the current public health emergency, the guidance also addresses considerations regarding Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of an investigational vaccine – making clear that an assessment regarding any potential EUA for a COVID-19 vaccine would be made on a case-by-case basis considering the target population, the characteristics of the product, and the totality of the relevant, available scientific evidence, including preclinical and human clinical study data on the product’s safety and effectiveness…

 

ACT-Accelerator moves to expand access to dexamethasone for low- and middle-income countries for COVID-19 treatment

Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research

 

ACT-Accelerator moves to expand access to dexamethasone for low- and middle-income countries for COVID-19 treatment
02 July 2020 | Press releases
Geneva – Unitaid and Wellcome have joined forces with partners in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to expand access to dexamethasone for low- and middle-income countries as part ensuring equitable access to therapeutics in the COVID-19 response.

Working with other partners in the ACT-A Therapeutics Partnership, UNICEF and Unitaid have agreed an initial purchase of oral and injectable dexamethasone to secure quality treatment. This move will support access for patients in low- and middle-income countries, where it is expected that up to 4.5 million patients could benefit from dexamethasone based on preliminary projection of needs.

Initial funding has been committed equally by UNICEF and Unitaid, with additional funding to come from pledges made to the ACT-A Therapeutics Partnership.

This is a concrete example of the efforts to coordinate a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the ACT-A, and in particular the Therapeutics Partnership. Under the joint leadership of Unitaid and Wellcome the ACT-A Therapeutics Partnership is continuing work to identify, accelerate and deliver therapeutics for COVID-19.

Dr Philippe Duneton, Unitaid Executive Director a.i., said, “With this advanced purchase we aim to ensure equitable access for low- and middle-income countries for treatment of COVID-19 with the life-saving drug dexamethasone, and avoid shortages resulting from high-levels of demand from other parts of the world. It will allow UNICEF, the Global Fund and other partners to procure quality dexamethasone.”

Paul Schreier, Chief Operating Officer, Wellcome, said “Dexamethasone is the first and only drug that has made a significant difference to patient mortality for COVID-19, and this agreement will help patients in low-and middle income countries access it.

Researchers have worked at an unprecedented speed to get these results. The ACT-Accelerator is matching this pace by ensuring manufacturing and delivery is as smooth – and equitable – as possible. We don’t yet know which treatments, tests and vaccines will be the most effective, which is why we must invest in wide range of options – at risk and at scale.”

“UNICEF and Unitaid along with other ACT Accelerator partners have taken steps now to pre-empt market constraints to facilitate access to a demonstrated life-saving product,” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of the UNICEF supply and procurement headquarters. “I am proud of the collaboration, agility and expertise that will allow us to secure these initial quantities of Dexamethasone. It represents another step towards equitable access to much-needed COVID-19 tools particularly for low and middle income countries. UNICEF will work with WHO and government partners to deliver these medicines and to procure more as more funds are made available.”

Dexamethasone is a low-cost corticosteroid, a class of medicines used to provide relief for inflammation. Evidence announced in June 2020 suggested that dexamethasone can save lives of patients with severe or critical symptoms of COVID-19 that are on ventilators or receiving oxygen therapy.

The World Health Organization is expected to issue revised guidance on the use of dexamethasone in the coming weeks, and this together with national guidelines, will be essential to ensure dexamethasone is used safely and appropriately.

 

EMERGENCIES: Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

WHO – Situation report – 166 
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
4 July 2020

Confirmed cases :: 10 922 324
Confirmed deaths :: 523 011
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 216

Highlights
:: WHO is providing support to bridge a shortfall in oxygen supplies in Iraq. To counter severe shortages, WHO has airlifted 300 oxygen concentrators from WHO’s warehouses in the United Arab Emirates.
:: As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections.
:: The UN Secretary-General, Mr António Guterres in his remarks to the Security Council on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting peace and security around the world. He stated that “Collective security and our shared well-being are under assault on many fronts led by a relentless disease and abetted by global fragilities.”
:: In Yemen, healthcare workers face a double battle – COVID-19 in a conflict zone. WHO chronicles the work of Dr Sami Al Hajj, a young doctor working at the Science and Technology Hospital in Sana.

::::::

2 July 2020
Global scientific community unites to track progress on COVID-19 R&D, identifies new research priorities and critical gaps

1 July 2020
Redefining global care: Duty, service and choices made in the time of COVID-19

::::::

Pfizer and BioNTech Announce Early Positive Data from an Ongoing Phase 1/2 study of mRNA-based Vaccine Candidate Against SARS-CoV-2
In an ongoing U.S. Phase 1/2 placebo-controlled, observer-blinded clinical trial, nucleoside-modified messenger RNA vaccine candidate (BNT162b1) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) is being evaluated in 45 subjects

At day 28 (7 days after dose 2), all subjects who received 10 or 30 mg of BNT162b1 had significantly elevated RBD-binding IgG antibodies with geometric mean concentrations (GMCs) of 4,813 and 27,872 units/ml which are 8- and 46.3-times, respectively, the GMC of 602 units/ml in a panel of 38 sera of convalescent patients who had contracted SARS-CoV-2

At day 28 (7 days after dose 2), all subjects who received 10 or 30 mg of BNT162b1 had SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies with geometric mean titers (GMTs) of 168 and 267, which are 1.8- and 2.8-times, respectively, the GMT of the convalescent serum panel

Local reactions and systemic events after immunization with 10 µg and 30 µg of BNT162b1 were dose-dependent, generally mild to moderate, and transient. No serious adverse events were reported

Further data from the ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial of four vaccine candidates will enable selection of a lead candidate and dose level for a large, global Phase 2b/3 safety and efficacy study that may begin as early as July 2020

Efforts to manufacture the leading candidates, at risk, are gearing up. In case the safety and efficacy study is successful, and the vaccine receives regulatory approval, the companies are expecting to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021

July 01, 2020 08:59 AM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK & MAINZ, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced preliminary data from the most advanced of four investigational vaccine candidates from their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program, Project Lightspeed, against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the current global pandemic. The BNT162 program is evaluating at least four experimental vaccines, each of which represents a unique combination of mRNA format and target antigen. The manuscript describing the preliminary clinical data for the nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) candidate, BNT162b1, which encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) antigen, is available on an online preprint server at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.30.20142570v1 and is concurrently undergoing scientific peer-review for potential publication. Overall, the preliminary data demonstrated that BNT162b1 could be administered in a dose that was well tolerated and generated dose dependent immunogenicity, as measured by RBD-binding IgG concentrations and SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers.

“We are encouraged by the clinical data of BNT162b1, one of four mRNA constructs we are evaluating clinically, and for which we have positive, preliminary, topline findings”

“We are encouraged by the clinical data of BNT162b1, one of four mRNA constructs we are evaluating clinically, and for which we have positive, preliminary, topline findings,” said Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research & Development, Pfizer. “We are dedicated to develop potentially groundbreaking vaccines and medicines, and in the face of this global health crisis, we approach this goal with the utmost urgency. We look forward to publishing our clinical data in a peer-reviewed journal as quickly as possible.”…

 

::::::
::::::

 

Emergencies: Ebola – DRC+

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Last Situation Report published 23 June 2020

::::::

Johnson & Johnson Announces European Commission Approval for Janssen’s Preventive Ebola Vaccine
:: This marks the first major regulatory approval of a vaccine developed by Janssen
:: The Ebola vaccine regimen leverages Janssen’s AdVac® technology, plus Bavarian Nordic’s established MVA-BN® technology
: Janssen’s AdVac® technology is also being used to develop a vaccine candidate to prevent COVID-19
July 01, 2020 09:22 AM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Johnson & Johnson today announced that the European Commission (EC) has granted Marketing Authorisation for its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies’ Ebola vaccine regimen for the prevention of Ebola Virus Disease. Enabled by this approval, Janssen is now collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) on vaccine pre-qualification, which should help accelerate registration of its preventive Ebola vaccine regimen in African countries and facilitate broader access to those most in need.

Two Marketing Authorisation Applications (MAAs) were submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the vaccines composing the two-dose regimen, Zabdeno® (Ad26.ZEBOV) and Mvabea® (MVA-BN-Filo). Marketing Authorisation under exceptional circumstances has been granted following Accelerated Assessment of the MAAs and a positive opinion by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). Janssen’s Ebola vaccine regimen is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of Ebola Virus Disease caused by the Zaire ebolavirus species in individuals aged one year and above.

“The European approval of Janssen’s Ebola vaccine regimen is a landmark moment – both for our Company and in the world’s battle against the deadly Ebola virus. Building on our history, we are committed to bringing forward vaccines to help overcome the threat of some of the world’s most life-threatening infectious diseases,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson…

::::::
::::::

 

Emergencies: POLIO; WHO/OCHA

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 24 June 2020
:: WHO is looking to fill the Director position of its polio eradication department. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute to a major global public health achievement: polio eradication. More information

Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: seven WPV1 cases
:: Pakistan: two WPV1 cases and 10 WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo: 13 cVDPV2 cases
:: Burkina Faso: five cVDPV2 cases
:: Côte d’Ivoire: eight cVDPV2 cases
:: Somalia: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples

::::::
::::::

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 4 July 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Building on Ebola response to tackle COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
25 June 2020
:: Heroes of the Ebola response 25 June 2020

Nigeria
:: Community leaders help drive COVID-19 testing in Nigeria’s Kano 29 June 2020
:: Germany boosts WHO’s strategies to support government-led interventions for vulnerable populations in the North-east 29 June 2020

Syrian Arab Republic
:: WHO calls for unhindered humanitarian access to all Syrians and support for health system resilience 30 June 2020
:: UNICEF and WHO support national immunization campaign in Syria amid COVID-19 pandemic
29 June 2020

Yemen
:: WHO and KSrelief join forces to preserve the health system in Yemen 30 June 2020
:: Noncommunicable diseases are a silent burden on the people of Yemen 30 June 2020

Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified

::::::

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 4 July 2020]
Burundi
:: Communities and coordination are crucial in fighting Ebola
04 July 2019
Close to the border with the Ebola-hit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), over 100 volunteer health workers are busily planning surveillance actions to detect potential Ebola cases and defend against the virus.

Iraq
:: WHO provides support to bridge shortfall in oxygen supplies in Iraq
Baghdad, Iraq, 2 July 2020 – In light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Iraq and the severe shortage of oxygen in hospitals, WHO has succeeded in securing 300 oxygen concentrators to be used in Iraqi hospitals according to the Ministry of Health’s distribution plan. The concentrators were airlifted from WHO’s warehouses in the United Arab Emirates and delivered to the Ministry of Health…

Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

::::::

WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 4 July 2020]

Kenya
:: Kenyan communities taking the lead in curbing COVID-19 spread 02 July 2020
By the time the public health officials reached a Maasai community not far from Nairobi, Julius Oloiboni had already mobilized everyone to protect themselves and others against COVID-19.
:: The EU and WHO working Together to Defeat COVID-19 in Kenya 29 June 2020

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – Page not responding at inquiry
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

::::::
::::::

UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 13 – 29 June 2020

Yemen
Highlights Last Updated: 02 Jul 2020
:: A tragedy unfolds as funding falls short
:: COVID-19 rapidly spreading
:: COVID-19 exacerbates Yemen’s economic problems
:: Heavy rains and flooding hit southern and eastern governorates
:: Migrant arrivals plummet while anti-migrant abuse spikes leaving thousands stranded

::::::

UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
East Africa Locust Infestation
:: Desert Locust situation update – 27 June 2020

COVID-19 – No new digest announcements identified

::::::
::::::

 

WHO & Regional Offices [to 4 July 2020]

WHO & Regional Offices [to 4 July 2020]
4 July 2020 News release
WHO discontinues hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment arms for COVID-19
WHO today accepted the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial’s hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms. The Solidarity Trial was established by WHO to find an effective COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients.
The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the Solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the 1-2 July WHO Summit on COVID-19 research and innovation.
These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.
For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality. There were, however, some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on Discovery trial, a participant in the Solidarity trial. These will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication.
This decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity trial in hospitalized patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19. The interim Solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication.

Timeline of WHO’s response to COVID-19
Last updated 30 June 2020
29 June 2020 Statement
WHO provides this timeline of the Organization’s COVID-19 response activities for general information. WHO will update the timeline on a regular basis and in light of evolving events and new information. Unless noted otherwise, country-specific information and data are as reported to WHO by its Member States.

This timeline supersedes the WHO Rolling Updates and WHO Timeline statement published in April 2020. It is not intended to be exhaustive and does not contain details of every event or WHO activity.

As of 29 June 2020, the following milestones and events focused on COVID-19 have taken place:
The Director-General and Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme have held 75 media briefings. The Director-General’s opening remarks, transcripts, videos and audio recordings for these media briefings are available online.
There have been 23 Member State Briefings and information sessions.
WHO convenes international expert networks, covering topics such as clinical management, laboratory and virology, infection prevention and control, mathematical modeling, seroepidemiology, and research and development for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, which have held frequent teleconferences, starting in early January. These networks include thousands of scientists, medical and public health professionals from around the world.
EPI-WIN, WHO’s information network for epidemics, has convened 60 technical webinars, making available 287 expert panelists to more than 13,500 participants, from more than 120 countries and territories, with representation from as many as 460 organizations.
The OpenWHO platform has had more than 3.7 million enrollments, over 80% of which are in COVID-19 courses. Free training is available on 13 different topics translated into 31 languages to support the coronavirus response, for a total of 100 COVID-19 courses.
WHO’s landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines lists 17 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 132 in preclinical evaluation.
The Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH) has met 35 times. STAG-IH provides independent advice and analysis to the WHO Health Emergencies Programme on the infectious hazards that may pose a threat to global health security.
In addition to the selected guidance included below, all of WHO’s technical guidance on COVID-19 can be found online here. 
All events listed below are in the Geneva, Switzerland time zone (CET/CEST). Note that the dates listed for documents are based on when they were finalized and timestamped….

 

::::::

Weekly Epidemiological Record, 3 July 2020, vol. 95, 27 (pp. 301–324)
:: Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo (Update, 26 June 2020)
:: Rubella vaccines: WHO position paper – July 2020
:: COVID-19 update

 

::::::

WHO Regional Offices
Selected Press Releases, Announcements
WHO African Region AFRO
:: WHO urges strong COVID-19 safety measures as African countries to resume air travel
02 July 2020
As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections due to the resumption of commercial flights and airport operations.
:: Kenyan communities taking the lead in curbing COVID-19 spread 02 July 2020
By the time the public health officials reached a Maasai community not far from Nairobi, Julius Oloiboni had already mobilized everyone to protect themselves and others against COVID-19.
:: Community leaders help drive COVID-19 testing in Nigeria’s Kano 29 June 2020

WHO Region of the Americas PAHO
No new digest content identified.

WHO South-East Asia Region SEARO
No new digest content identified.

WHO European Region EURO
:: New 5-year programme for health in Europe on the agenda at virtual annual meeting 03-07-2020
:: WHO/Europe launches new podcast – Health in Europe 01-07-2020
:: WHO addresses European Parliament on COVID-19 response 01-07-2020
:: WHO reinforces COVID-19 response efforts in Turkey: millions of protective items distributed 30-06-2020
:: WHO-backed telephone counselling in Turkey for those dealing with COVID-19 stress 30-06-2020

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Statement by WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari on COVID-19
Yesterday, 30 June marked six months since WHO received the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in China The six-month mark of the outbreak coincides with reaching 10 million cases and 500,000 deaths world-wide. Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is speeding up. A few days ago, our Region passed its own significant and concerning milestone, with more than one million people now infected with COVID-19. The number of cases reported in June alone is higher than the total number of cases reported during the four months following the first reported case in the Region on 29 January…

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: Virtual press conference with World Economic Forum on COVID-19: 1 July 2020
Remarks by Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific

 

CDC/ACIP [to 4 July 2020]

CDC/ACIP [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.cdc.gov/media/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/index.html

Coronavirus Q&A: Update From the CDC With Anne Schuchat
Streamed live on Jun 29, 2020
JAMA Network
Anne Schuchat, MD, Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discusses latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key Points
:: The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to get it under control as some other countries have, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.
:: The U.S. stands in stark contrast to countries like South Korea, New Zealand and Singapore as it continues to report over 30,000 new infections per day.
:: “This is really the beginning,” Schuchat said of the U.S.’s recent surge in new cases.

MMWR News Synopsis Friday, July 3, 2020
Screening for SARS-CoV-2 Infection Within a Psychiatric Hospital and Considerations for Limiting Transmission Within Residential Psychiatric Facilities — Wyoming, 2020

COVID-19 Outbreak Among College Students After a Spring Break Trip to Mexico — Austin, Texas, March 26–April 5, 2020 (Early release June 24, 2020)

Serial Laboratory Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Incarcerated and Detained Persons in a Correctional and Detention Facility — Louisiana, April–May 2020 (Early release June 29, 2020)

Characteristics of Adult Outpatients and Inpatients with COVID-19 — 11 Academic Medical Centers, United States, March–May 2020 (Early release June 30, 2020)

Exposures Before Issuance of Stay-at-Home Orders Among Persons with Laboratory-Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 — Colorado, March 2020 (Early release June 30, 2020)

 

China CDC

China CDC
http://www.chinacdc.cn/en/
No new digest content identified.

 

National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China
http://en.nhc.gov.cn/
News
July 4: Daily briefing on novel coronavirus cases in China
On July 3, 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps on the Chinese mainland reported 3 new cases of confirmed infections.

Beijing bans people in quarantine from public gatherings
Updated: 2020-07-03
BEIJING — Beijing has banned people who are in quarantine due to COVID-19 from taking part in public gathering activities, authorities said on July 2.
People under collective or home quarantine should not go outdoors, nor should they participate in “cross-room, cross-family and cross-yard” public gatherings, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing center for disease control and prevention, told a press conference.
The situation is gradually getting better in Beijing, but risks remain, Pang said.
Beijing reported one new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 case on Wednesday, the municipal health commission said Thursday…

CDC director: More virus outbreaks likely, but nation can control them
2020-07-03
More COVID-19 outbreaks in China similar to the ongoing one in Beijing are likely because the pandemic has yet to be contained globally, but they will be brought under control quickly, a senior public health expert said.
“With the massive global pandemic going on, it is very natural that the outbreak occurred in Beijing, and it would be no surprise if a similar outbreak happened accidentally in another area in China,” said Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“However, I am confident that such local outbreaks will be effectively suppressed once they are identified, as we have experience in COVID-19 epidemic control in Wuhan and competent public health professionals, including community health workers and CDC workers.”
As of Wednesday, the outbreak in Beijing, which is linked with a major wholesale food market in the city, had resulted in 329 confirmed cases over the past three weeks…

 

Announcements

Announcements

 

Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group [to 4 July 2020]
https://alleninstitute.org/what-we-do/frontiers-group/news-press/
News
No new digest content identified.

 

BARDA – U.S. Department of HHS [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.phe.gov/about/barda/Pages/default.aspx
No new digest content identified.

 

BMGF – Gates Foundation [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases
No new digest content identified.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.gatesmri.org/
The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute is a non-profit biotech organization. Our mission is to develop products to fight malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases—three major causes of mortality, poverty, and inequality in developing countries. The world has unprecedented scientific tools at its disposal; now is the time to use them to save the lives of the world’s poorest people
No new digest content identified.

 

CARB-X [to 4 July 2020]
https://carb-x.org/
CARB-X is a non-profit public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research to tackle the global rising threat of drug-resistant bacteria.
06.30.2020  |
CARB-X funds Eligo Bioscience to develop CRISPR-based therapeutics derived from bacteriophages to kill superbugs and prevent deadly infections in transplant patients
CARB-X is awarding up to US$1.82 million to Eligo Bioscience in Paris, France, with additional funding for a total award of up to US$7.05 million if project milestones are met, for the development of a new generation of highly-specific antimicrobials to prevent multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections in organ transplant patients.

 

CEPI – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations [to 4 July 2020]
http://cepi.net/
Latest News
02 July 2020
Austria donates €2 million to CEPI to support COVID-19 vaccine programmes
The Government of Austria’s funding will support CEPI’s urgent work to advance the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

EDCTP [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.edctp.org/
The European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) aims to accelerate the development of new or improved drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as well as other poverty-related and neglected infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials
Latest news
03 July 2020
EDCTP and Africa CDC workshop report on disparities in research funding
EDCTP and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention published a report on gender-related and regional disparities in research and research capacity development. In collaboration with Africa CDC, EDCTP hosted a workshop on this topic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 19-20 November 2019. The selected participants – 97 researchers and key stakeholders from Africa and Europe – discussed practical solutions to address gender-related and regional imbalances in research and research capacity development. The report summarises the presentations and extensive discussions over the two days and presents the recommendations of the participants…
Go to the report

29 June 2020
EDCTP COVID-19 emergency funding for twenty research projects
…The 100 eligible applications went through an expedited and robust peer review which led to a ranked list of 47 proposals. Twenty proposals have been invited to grant preparation and some put on a reserve list while EDCTP continues to explore ways to fund these projects. The cash contribution from the European Union and the co-funding so far received so from France, Sweden, South Africa, and the United Kingdom is gratefully acknowledged…

 

Emory Vaccine Center [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.vaccines.emory.edu/
No new digest content identified.

 

European Medicines Agency [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/
News & Press Releases
Press release: International regulators provide guiding principles for COVID-19 clinical trials
Last updated: 01/07/2020

 

 

News: EMA and Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to share confidential COVID-19 information
Last updated: 30/06/2020

 

 

News: Meeting highlights from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) 22-25 June 2020
CHMP, Last updated: 26/06/2020

 

European Vaccine Initiative [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.euvaccine.eu/
Latest News
Towards a sustainable European vaccine infrastructure
Heidelberg, 3 July 2020
…The new project, TRANSVAC-DS (Design study for a European vaccine infrastructure), further builds on the outstanding success and lessons learned of the TRANSVAC1 and TRANSVAC2 projects (www.transvac.org) also funded by the EC and proposes the establishment of a truly sustainable European vaccine infrastructure. The TRANSVAC-DS consortium comprises twenty-five partners from eleven European countries (DE, FR, NL, NO, BE, PT, ES UK, IT, CH and DK) and includes leading academic and research organisations, other research infrastructures and vaccine alliances working in areas related to vaccine development…
Quick facts about TRANSVAC-DS:
Start Date: 01 June 2020
End Date: 31 May 2022
Coordinator: European Vaccine Initiative (EVI)
Project Funder: European Commission, Grant Number 951668
Total Funding: 1.88M EUR

 

FDA [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/default.htm
Press Announcements
July 2, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Authorizes Additional COVID-19 Combination Diagnostic Test Ahead of Flu Season

July 2, 2020 – FDA Approves New HIV Treatment for Patients With Limited Treatment Options

July 1, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup July 1, 2020

June 30, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Action to Help Facilitate Timely Development of Safe, Effective COVID-19 Vaccines

June 29, 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup June 29, 2020

 

Fondation Merieux [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.fondation-merieux.org/
News, Events
No new digest content identified.

 

Gavi [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.gavi.org/
News releases
3 July 2020
New private sector commitments to fund access to future COVID-19 vaccines announced at international pledging summit
:: Global technology company TransferWise and a donor which asked to remain anonymous made significant financial commitments to Gavi’s Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines (Gavi COVAX AMC)
:: The new financing mechanism to support affordable access for developing countries is part of a broader COVAX Facility aimed at securing global access to eventual COVID-19 vaccines
:: The commitments were made at the Global Goal: Unite for our Future summit, organised by the European Commission and Global Citizen

 

GHIT Fund [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.ghitfund.org/newsroom/press
GHIT was set up in 2012 with the aim of developing new tools to tackle infectious diseases that No new digest content identified.

 

Global Fund [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.theglobalfund.org/en/news/
Videos
Germany Pledges €150 Million to Global Fund COVID-19 Response at Global Citizen Summit
30 June 2020

 

Hilleman Laboratories [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.hillemanlabs.org/
No new digest content identified.

 

Human Vaccines Project [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.humanvaccinesproject.org/media/press-releases/
No new digest content identified.

 

IAVI [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.iavi.org/newsroom
Press Releases
No new digest content identified.

 

 

International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities [ICMRA]
http://www.icmra.info/drupal/en/news
Selected Statements, Press Releases, Research
No new digest content identified.

 

 

International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association [IGBA]
https://www.igbamedicines.org/
News
CILFA, the Argentinian Generic and Biosimilar Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, joins IGBA (1 July 2020)
IGBA, the International Generic and Biosimilar medicines Association, representing global manufacturers of generic and biosimilar medicines, announced today that the Cámara Industrial de Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Argentinos (CILFA) has been accepted and welcomed as a new IGBA Associate Member.

 

 

IFFIm
http://www.iffim.org/
Announcements
No new digest content identified.

 

IFRC [to 4 July 2020]
http://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/news/press-releases/
Selected Press Releases, Announcements
Asia Pacific, Bangladesh
Early action to save lives in Bangladesh amid severe flood forecast
Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 30 June 2020: Urgent early action is being taken to protect lives in Bangladesh as floods threaten 4.1 million people in large areas across the country that are already grappling with COVID-19. The Global Flood Awareness Syst …
30 June 2020

 

IVAC [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/ivac/index.html
Updates
New COVID-19 Testing Trends Tool
July 2020
Here, we bring together data on diagnostic testing rates, the number of positive cases, and the percent of tests that are positive to help understand the state of the pandemic in each state.

 

IVI [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.ivi.int/
Selected IVI News & Announcements
LINE and International Vaccine Institute Release BT21 Donation Stickers to Promote Global Vaccination and Vaccine Development
LINE FRIENDS’ BT21 characters featured in IVI sticker set to raise funds for child immunization initiatives and COVID-19 vaccine development
SEONGNAM, South Korea – June 30, 2020 – LINE Corporation today released a set of animated stickers together with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) featuring LINE FRIENDS’ BT21 characters. With all sales proceeds going to IVI, this sticker initiative is one more demonstration of LINE’s mission of “Closing the Distance,” which includes taking actions to help people and improve their lives…
*Sticker download URL: https://line.me/S/sticker/17793

 

JEE Alliance [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.jeealliance.org/
Selected News and Events
No new digest content identified.

 

MSF/Médecins Sans Frontières [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.msf.org/
Latest [Selected Announcements]
Lebanon
COVID-19 and economic downfall reveal migrant workers’ mental health cr…
Report 3 Jul 2020

Women’s health
Women and girls face greater dangers during COVID-19 pandemic
Project Update 2 Jul 2020

Mozambique
“It was like the end of the world” during attack in northern Mozambique
Voices from the Field 30 Jun 2020

Syria
Life in an open-air prison: living under the bombs in Idlib
Voices from the Field 29 Jun 2020

Venezuela
MSF helps fight against malaria in Venezuela’s Sucre state
Project Update 29 Jun 2020

 

National Vaccine Program Office – U.S. HHS [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.hhs.gov/vaccines/about/index.html
NVAC 2020 Meetings
September 23-24, 2020 Meeting (Virtual)

 

NIH [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases
Selected News Releases
NIH ACTIV vaccine working group weighs role of human challenge studies for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development
July 1, 2020 — The authors conclude that large, randomized, controlled trials of SARS-CoV-2 are the fastest and most effective path forward for establishing vaccine safety and efficacy.

NIH study shows genomic variation causing common autoinflammatory disease may increase resilience to bubonic plague
June 29, 2020 — Genomic variants that cause common periodic fever have spread in Mediterranean populations over centuries, potentially protecting people from the plague.

 

PATH [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.path.org/media-center/
Selected Announcements
Join PATH Virtually at AIDS 2020
July 2, 2020 by PATH
Driving client-centered, differentiated services to turn the tide towards HIV epidemic control

 

Sabin Vaccine Institute [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.sabin.org/updates/pressreleases
Statements and Press Releases
Withdrawing Funding from the World Health Organization Will Have Dangerous Consequences
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Sabin Vaccine Institute condemns Trump administration decision to pull financial support from the World Health Organization; Urges reconsideration

 

UNAIDS [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.unaids.org/en
Selected Press Releases/Reports/Statements
AIDS 2020
The 23rd International AIDS Conference – known as AIDS 2020 – will take place from 6 to10 July 2020 with the theme, Resilience.

1 July 2020
Providing support to COVID-19-hit households in Côte d’Ivoire

30 June 2020
Delivery of PrEP at home in the Republic of Moldova

29 June 2020
UNAIDS supporting people stranded in Egypt to access HIV treatment

 

UNICEF [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.unicef.org/media/press-releases
Selected Press releases/Announcements
Press release
02/07/2020
COVID-19: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge helps deliver over 50 tonnes of UNICEF supplies for vulnerable children and families

Statement
30/06/2020
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore ahead of the 2020 Brussels video conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region

Press release
30/06/2020
Not just numbers: Syrian families identify their needs and concerns as war enters tenth year
Education in high demand: Syrian families say education for children greatest challenge

Press release
29/06/2020
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore remarks at the 2020 Executive Board Annual Session
As prepared

 

Unitaid [to 4 July 2020]
https://unitaid.org/
Featured News
02 July 2020 | Press releases
ACT-Accelerator moves to expand access to dexamethasone for low- and middle-income countries for COVID-19 treatment
Geneva – Unitaid and Wellcome have joined forces with partners in the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to expand access to dexamethasone for low- and middle-income countries as part ensuring equitable access to therapeutics in the COVID-19 response.
[See Milestones above for detail]

 

Vaccination Acceptance Research Network (VARN) [to 4 July 2020]
https://vaccineacceptance.org/news.html#header1-2r
Announcements
No new digest content identified.

 

Vaccine Confidence Project [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.vaccineconfidence.org/
Latest News & Archive
No new digest content identified.

 

Vaccine Education Center – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center
No new digest content identified.

 

Wellcome Trust [to 4 July 2020]
https://wellcome.ac.uk/news
Opinion | 30 June 2020
This virus isn’t going away. The only way to beat it is to work together
Jeremy Farrar, Director Wellcome
Six months on from the first case of COVID-19, the pandemic is accelerating and spreading into new areas. Jeremy Farrar talks about the lessons we learned and the long-term solutions.

 

The Wistar Institute [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.wistar.org/news/press-releases
Press Released
No new digest content identified.

 

WFPHA: World Federation of Public Health Associations [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.wfpha.org/
Latest News
WFPHA Joins The Launch of The Global Sustainable Health Equity Movement
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
[See Milestones above for detail]

 

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/press-releases/2020/
Press Releases
No new digest content identified.

 

 

::::::

 

ARM [Alliance for Regenerative Medicine] [to 4 July 2020]
https://alliancerm.org/press-releases/
Press Releases
No new digest content identified.

 

BIO [to 4 July 2020]
https://www.bio.org/press-releases
Press Releases
No new digest content identified.

 

DCVMN – Developing Country Vaccine Manufacturers Network [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.dcvmn.org/
News
No new digest content identified.

 

IFPMA [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.ifpma.org/resources/news-releases/
Selected Press Releases, Statements, Publications
IFPMA Statement – Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) Investment Case
26 June 2020
…We are proud to be a founding partner of the ACT-Accelerator and are fully committed to the goal of the COVAX pillar to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines.
Access to COVID-19 vaccines is a collective responsibility that calls for highly coordinated and collaborative action by public and private actors alike and global solidarity to end the COVID-19 pandemic

 

ICBA – International Council of Biotechnology Associations [to 4 July 2020]
https://internationalbiotech.org/
News
No new digest content identified.

 

PhRMA [to 4 July 2020]
http://www.phrma.org/
Selected Press Releases, Statements
How biopharmaceutical researchers are ensuring COVID-19 vaccines will be safe and effective
Richard Moscicki, M.D.   |     June 29, 2020

 

Journal Watch

Journal Watch
Vaccines and Global Health: The Week in Review continues its weekly scanning of key peer-reviewed journals to identify and cite articles, commentary and editorials, books reviews and other content supporting our focu-s on vaccine ethics and policy. Journal Watch is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicative of themes and issues the Center is actively tracking. We selectively provide full text of some editorial and comment articles that are specifically relevant to our work. Successful access to some of the links provided may require subscription or other access arrangement unique to the publisher.
If you would like to suggest other journal titles to include in this service, please contact David Curry at: david.r.curry@centerforvaccineethicsandpolicy.org

 

Short- and long-term impact of vaccination against cytomegalovirus: a modeling study

BMC Medicine
http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmed/content
(Accessed 4 July 2020)

 

Short- and long-term impact of vaccination against cytomegalovirus: a modeling study
Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is highly prevalent worldwide and can cause severe disease in immunocompromised persons and congenitally infected infants. The disease burden caused by congenital CMV infec…
Authors: Ganna Rozhnova, Mirjam E. Kretzschmar, Fiona van der Klis, Debbie van Baarle, Marjolein Korndewal, Ann C. Vossen and Michiel van Boven
Citation: BMC Medicine 2020 18:174
Content type: Research Article
Published on: 2 July 2020

 

The CRISPR babies controversy: Responsibility and regulation in the spotlight

EMBO Reports
Volume 21 Issue 7 3 July 2020
https://www.embopress.org/toc/14693178/current

 

Opinion 28 May 2020
The CRISPR babies controversy: Responsibility and regulation in the spotlight
Morgan Meyer
The genome editing of human embryos by He Jianjui and the announcement to do so by Denis Rebrikov should spur the research community into discussing robust and transparent governance for human germline modification.

 

A systematic review of global health capacity building initiatives in low-to middle-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa region

A systematic review of global health capacity building initiatives in low-to middle-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa region
Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are facing increasing global health challenges with a reduced ability to manage them. Global Health Capacity Building (GHCB) initiatives have the potential to improve health workforce performance and health outcomes, however little is known about the GHCB topics and approaches implemented in this region. This is the first systematic review of GHCB initiatives among LMICs in the MENA region

 

Authors: Hady Naal, Maria El Koussa, Melissa El Hamouch, Layal Hneiny and Shadi Saleh
Content type: Review
3 July 2020

 

Health-education to prevent COVID-19 in schoolchildren: a call to action

Health-education to prevent COVID-19 in schoolchildren: a call to action
There is currently considerable international debate around school closures/openings and the role of children in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Whilst evidence suggests that children …

 

Authors: Darren J. Gray, Johanna Kurscheid, Mary Lorraine Mationg, Gail M. Williams, Catherine Gordon, Matthew Kelly, Kinley Wangdi and Donald P. McManus
Citation: Infectious Diseases of Poverty 2020 9:81
Content type: Opinion
Published on: 1 July 2020

 

Urgent call for a global enforcement of the public sharing of health emergencies data: lesson learned from serious arboviral disease epidemics in Sudan

International Health
Volume 12, Issue 4, July 2020
https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/issue/12/4

 

COMMENTARIES
Urgent call for a global enforcement of the public sharing of health emergencies data: lesson learned from serious arboviral disease epidemics in Sudan
Ayman Ahmed
International Health, Volume 12, Issue 4, July 2020, Pages 238–240, https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihz122

 

Artificial intelligence: opportunities and implications for the health workforce

International Health
Volume 12, Issue 4, July 2020
https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/issue/12/4

 

Artificial intelligence: opportunities and implications for the health workforce
Indrajit Hazarika
International Health, Volume 12, Issue 4, July 2020, Pages 241–245, https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihaa007
Abstract
Healthcare involves cyclic data processing to derive meaningful, actionable decisions. Rapid increases in clinical data have added to the occupational stress of healthcare workers, affecting their ability to provide quality and effective services. Health systems have to radically rethink strategies to ensure that staff are satisfied and actively supported in their jobs. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to augment provider performance. This article reviews the available literature to identify AI opportunities that can potentially transform the role of healthcare providers. To leverage AI’s full potential, policymakers, industry, healthcare providers and patients have to address a new set of challenges. Optimizing the benefits of AI will require a balanced approach that enhances accountability and transparency while facilitating innovation.

 

Zoonoses: beyond the human–animal–environment interface

The Lancet
Jul 04, 2020 Volume 396 Number 10243 p1-70
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/issue/current

 

Editorial
Zoonoses: beyond the human–animal–environment interface
The Lancet
…Sounding the alarm about the risk of zoonotic pandemics has largely been the preserve of a handful of scientists and global health experts. Until now. COVID-19 has coalesced the research community around calls for establishing broad transformational change. This pandemic is a sobering warning against exploiting the natural world without pause, and that zoonoses affect not only health but the whole fabric of society. COVID-19 will not be the last, and perhaps not the worst, zoonotic pandemic. Climate change has shown how an existential threat to human civilisation can galvanise a sense of urgency in a whole-of-society response. Tackling zoonoses needs exactly the same.

 

Prioritising children’s rights in the COVID-19 response

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Jul 2020 Volume 4 Number 7 p479-554, e17-e25
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/issue/current

 

Editorial
Prioritising children’s rights in the COVID-19 response
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
Although substantial progress has been made in many aspects of child health in the past two decades, the COVID-19 pandemic and its wide-ranging effects are threatening some of these hard-won gains. Public health measures such as lockdown, school closures, and restrictions in population movement—while necessary to halt virus transmission—are causing prolonged disruption to societal functioning and exacerbating inequalities worldwide. The global Human Development Index (HDI) is projected to decline this year for the first time since 1990, effectively erasing all progress in human development made in the past 6 years…

 

The European artificial intelligence strategy: implications and challenges for digital health

Lancet Digital Health
Jul 2020 Volume 2 Number 7 e331-e379
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landig/issue/current

 

Viewpoint
The European artificial intelligence strategy: implications and challenges for digital health
I Glenn Cohen, Theodoros Evgeniou, Sara Gerke, Timo Minssen
Summary
In February, 2020, the European Commission published a white paper on artificial intelligence (AI) as well as an accompanying communication and report. The paper sets out policy options to facilitate a secure and trustworthy development of AI and considers health to be one of its most important areas of application. We illustrate that the European Commission’s approach, as applied to medical AI, presents some challenges that can be detrimental if not addressed. In particular, we discuss the issues of European values and European data, the update problem of AI systems, and the challenges of new trade-offs such as privacy, cybersecurity, accuracy, and intellectual property rights. We also outline what we view as the most important next steps in the Commission’s iterative process. Although the European Commission has done good work in setting out a European approach for AI, we conclude that this approach will be more difficult to implement in health care. It will require careful balancing of core values, detailed consideration of nuances of health and AI technologies, and a keen eye on the political winds and global competition.

 

A wake-up call: COVID-19 and its impact on children’s health and wellbeing

Lancet Global Health
Jul 2020 Volume 8 Number 7 e860-e972
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/issue/current

 

Comment
A wake-up call: COVID-19 and its impact on children’s health and wellbeing
Henrietta H Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
As cases of COVID-19 surge worldwide and threaten to overwhelm life-saving health services, the survival of mothers and children is at great risk.

In The Lancet Global Health, Timothy Roberton and colleagues1 present startling new evidence on the potential rise in maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries if essential health services are disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Building on lessons learned from previous outbreaks of Ebola virus disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the authors estimate a devastating increase in the numbers of maternal and child deaths resulting from reductions in routine health service coverage.

Left unchecked, these reductions (due to, for example, disruptions in medical supply chains or the availability of human and financial resources) along with declines in the uptake of health services by communities fearful of infection will be more catastrophic for mothers and children than COVID-19 itself. The projection of an additional 1·2 million child deaths and 56 700 maternal deaths in 118 countries if coverage of essential services drops by around 45% for 6 months is alarming. It is also avoidable if we act now.

These findings reinforce the multi-part approach that UNICEF has adopted from the start of the outbreak.2 First, we are working to prevent COVID-19 transmission and treat those who fall sick. Second, we are working to address the effects of the policy responses aimed at containing the spread, including maintaining routine health services for all children and mothers, ensuring continuity of learning, keeping mothers and children safe and protected from violence, and scaling up social protections to keep children and their families afloat. Third, we are working to strengthen the systems that underpin all of these services…

Continue reading

Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study

Lancet Global Health
Jul 2020 Volume 8 Number 7 e860-e972
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/issue/current

 

Articles
Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study
While the COVID-19 pandemic will increase mortality due to the virus, it is also likely to increase mortality indirectly. In this study, we estimate the additional maternal and under-5 child deaths resulting from the potential disruption of health systems and decreased access to food…Our estimates are based on tentative assumptions and represent a wide range of outcomes. Nonetheless, they show that, if routine health care is disrupted and access to food is decreased (as a result of unavoidable shocks, health system collapse, or intentional choices made in responding to the pandemic), the increase in child and maternal deaths will be devastating. We hope these numbers add context as policy makers establish guidelines and allocate resources in the days and months to come.
Timothy Roberton, Emily D Carter, Victoria B Chou, Angela R Stegmuller, Bianca D Jackson, Yvonne Tam, Talata Sawadogo-Lewis, Neff Walker

 

Safety and immunogenicity of a candidate Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus viral-vectored vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, uncontrolled, phase 1 trial

Lancet Infectious Diseases
Jul 2020 Volume 20 Number 7 p755-874, e148-e179
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/issue/current

 

Articles
Safety and immunogenicity of a candidate Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus viral-vectored vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, uncontrolled, phase 1 trial
Pedro M Folegatti, et al

 

Safety and immunogenicity of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara vector vaccine candidate for Middle East respiratory syndrome: an open-label, phase 1 trial

Lancet Infectious Diseases
Jul 2020 Volume 20 Number 7 p755-874, e148-e179
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/issue/current

 

Safety and immunogenicity of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara vector vaccine candidate for Middle East respiratory syndrome: an open-label, phase 1 trial
Till Koch, et al

 

Safety and immunogenicity of the tetravalent, live-attenuated dengue vaccine Butantan-DV in adults in Brazil: a two-step, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled phase 2 trial

Lancet Infectious Diseases
Jul 2020 Volume 20 Number 7 p755-874, e148-e179
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/issue/current

 

Safety and immunogenicity of the tetravalent, live-attenuated dengue vaccine Butantan-DV in adults in Brazil: a two-step, double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled phase 2 trial
Esper G Kallas, et al

 

Safety and immunogenicity of a parenteral trivalent P2-VP8 subunit rotavirus vaccine: a multisite, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Lancet Infectious Diseases
Jul 2020 Volume 20 Number 7 p755-874, e148-e179
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/issue/current

 

Safety and immunogenicity of a parenteral trivalent P2-VP8 subunit rotavirus vaccine: a multisite, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Michelle J Groome, et al

 

Education and wealth inequalities in healthy ageing in eight harmonised cohorts in the ATHLOS consortium: a population-based study

Lancet Public Health
Jul 2020 Volume 5 Number 7 e361-e413
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/issue/current

 

Articles
Education and wealth inequalities in healthy ageing in eight harmonised cohorts in the ATHLOS consortium: a population-based study
Yu-Tzu Wu, et al on behalf of the ATHLOS consortium
Background
The rapid growth of the size of the older population is having a substantial effect on health and social care services in many societies across the world. Maintaining health and functioning in older age is a key public health issue but few studies have examined factors associated with inequalities in trajectories of health and functioning across countries. The aim of this study was to investigate trajectories of healthy ageing in older men and women (aged ≥45 years) and the effect of education and wealth on these trajectories.
Interpretation
The apparent difference in baseline healthy ageing scores between those with high versus low education levels and wealth suggests that cumulative disadvantage due to low education and wealth might have largely deteriorated health conditions in early life stages, leading to persistent differences throughout older age, but no further increase in ageing disparity after age 70 years. Future research should adopt a lifecourse approach to investigate mechanisms of health inequalities across education and wealth in different societies.

 

Mapping and characterization of structural variation in 17,795 human genomes

Nature
Volume 583 Issue 7814, 2 July 2020
http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue.html

 

Article | 27 May 2020
Mapping and characterization of structural variation in 17,795 human genomes
Structural variants in more than 17,000 human genomes are mapped and characterized using whole-genome sequencing, showing how this type of variation contributes to rare deleterious coding and noncoding alleles.
Haley J. Abel, David E. Larson[…] & Ira M. Hall

 

Whole-genome sequencing of a sporadic primary immunodeficiency cohort

Nature
Volume 583 Issue 7814, 2 July 2020
http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue.html

 

Article | 06 May 2020
Whole-genome sequencing of a sporadic primary immunodeficiency cohort
Whole-genome sequencing analysis of individuals with primary immunodeficiency identifies new candidate disease-associated genes and shows how the interplay between genetic variants can explain the variable penetrance and complexity of the disease.
James E. D. Thaventhiran, Hana Lango Allen[…] & Kenneth G. C. Smith

Continue reading

Whole-genome sequencing of patients with rare diseases in a national health system

Nature
Volume 583 Issue 7814, 2 July 2020
http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue.html

 

Article | 24 June 2020
Whole-genome sequencing of patients with rare diseases in a national health system
Whole-genome sequencing and phenotype data sharing are introduced in a national health system to streamline diagnosis and to discover coding and non-coding variants that cause rare diseases.
Ernest Turro, William J. Astle[…] & Willem H. Ouwehand

 

Effective study design for comparative functional genomics

Nature Reviews Genetics
Volume 21 Issue 7, July 2020
https://www.nature.com/nrg/volumes/21/issues/7

 

Comment | 24 April 2020
Effective study design for comparative functional genomics
Comparative studies struggle to balance technical properties with the need to obtain samples from multiple species. The authors argue for extensive record keeping and reporting of metadata to minimize the effect of confounders and increase the robustness of inferences from these studies.
Joanna L. Kelley  & Yoav Gilad