EMERGENCIES Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

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

Editor’s Note:
We certainly recognize the velocity of global developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have concentrated the most current key reports just below, COVID-19 announcements, analysis and commentary will be found throughout this issue, in all sections.
Beyond the considerable continuing coverage in the global general media:
:: Daily WHO situation reports here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
:: WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) daily press briefings here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings

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Situation report – 60 [WHO]

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
20 March 2020
[Excerpts]
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Globally
234,073 confirmed (24 247)
9840 deaths (1061)

Western Pacific Region
93,349 confirmed (1016)
3405 deaths (28)

European Region
104,591 confirmed (17 506)
4899 deaths (816)

South-East Asia Region
918 confirmed (261)
31 deaths (8)

Eastern Mediterranean Region
20,759 confirmed (1254)
1312 deaths (151)

Region of the Americas
13,271 confirmed (4104)
178 deaths (57)

African Region
473 confirmed (106)
8 deaths (1)

WHO RISK ASSESSMENT
Global Level – Very High

HIGHLIGHTS
:: Six new countries/territories/areas (African Region [2], and Region of the Americas [2], and Western Pacific Region [2]) have reported cases of COVID-19.

:: To increase access to reliable information, WHO has partnered with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a WHO Health Alert messaging service. This service will provide the latest news and information on COVID-19, including details on symptoms and how people can protect themselves. The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week. To access it, send the word “hi” to the following number on WhatsApp: +41 798 931 892.

:: The first vaccine trial has begun just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the virus was shared by China. This is an incredible achievement. To ensure clear evidence of which treatments are most effective, WHO and its partners are organizing a large international study, called the Solidarity Trial, in many countries to compare different treatments.

:: WHO and Global Citizen launched #TogetherAtHome, a virtual, no-contact concert series to promote physical distancing and action for global health. Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, kicked it off earlier this week with a performance from his home. More Solidarity Sessions are planned to promote health, show support for people who are staying at home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and encourage donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

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NIH clinical trial of investigational vaccine for COVID-19 begins
March 16, 2020 — Study enrolling Seattle-based healthy adult volunteers.
A Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine designed to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding the trial. KPWHRI is part of NIAID’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks. The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.

The study is evaluating different doses of the experimental vaccine for safety and its ability to induce an immune response in participants. This is the first of multiple steps in the clinical trial process for evaluating the potential benefit of the vaccine.

The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

…Currently, no approved vaccines exist to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.
The investigational vaccine was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA). The investigational vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that it is hoped will elicit a robust immune response. The mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans…

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Milken Institute launches COVID-19 treatment and vaccine tracker
Publicly available resource monitors development of therapies to treat and prevent disease
March 19, 2020 08:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Milken Institute is launching a resource to help the public and policymakers track progress in the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.
The tracker is available online at https://milkeninstitute.org/covid-19-tracker. It is developed and maintained by FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, with an Advisory Council comprised of a Nobel Laureate researcher, former FDA chiefs, and industry leaders..
The Milken Institute COVID-19 vaccine development and treatment tracker is compiled from publicly available sources. It will grow to include FDA-approved indications where applicable, as well as basic information about the focus of each clinical trial…

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ICC-WHO Joint Statement: An unprecedented private sector call to action to tackle COVID-19
16 March 2020 Statement
In a coordinated effort to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to work closely to ensure the latest and most reliable information and tailored guidance reaches the global business community.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health and societal emergency that requires effective immediate action by governments, individuals and businesses. All businesses have a key role to play in minimising the likelihood of transmission and impact on society. Early, bold and effective action will reduce short- term risks to employees and long-term costs to businesses and the economy.

To aid this collective effort, ICC will regularly send updated advice to its network of over 45 million businesses so that businesses everywhere can take informed and effective action to protect their workers, customers and local communities and contribute to the production and distribution of essential supplies.

ICC will also contribute to enhancing information flows on the coronavirus outbreak by surveying its global private sector network to map the global business response. This will both encourage businesses to adopt appropriate precautionary approaches and generate new data and insights to support national and international government efforts.

As an immediate priority, businesses should be developing or updating, readying or implementing business continuity plans. Business continuity plans should aim to reduce transmission, including by: promoting understanding of the disease, its symptoms and appropriate behavior among employees; setting up a reporting system for any cases and contacts; preparing essentials; limiting travel and physical connectivity; and planning for measures such as teleworking when necessary.

Calls to Action
:: ICC strongly endorses WHO’s call on national governments everywhere to adopt a whole-of- government and whole-of-society approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reducing the further spread of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact should be a top priority for Heads of State and Government. Political action should be coordinated with actors in the private sector and civil society to maximize reach of messaging and effectiveness.

:: Governments should commit to making available all necessary resources to combat COVID-19 with the minimum of delay and to ensure that cross-border medical and other essential goods supply chains are able to function effectively and efficiently

:: ICC and the WHO encourage national chambers of commerce to work closely with UN country teams, including WHO country offices where they exist, and to designate mutual focal points to coordinate this collaboration.

:: ICC encourages its members to support their country’s national response efforts and to contribute to the global response efforts coordinated by the WHO through http://www.covid19responsefund.org.

As the pandemic evolves, ICC Secretary General John W.H Denton AO and WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will continue to coordinate their efforts.

Essential information on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the WHO’s dedicated site.

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