WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 August 2021

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WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 August 2021
11 August 2021
Last Friday, the Ministry of Health of Guinea informed WHO of a case of Marburg virus disease in the country’s south-west, in a man who died 8 days after onset of symptoms. This is the first known case of Marburg in West Africa. There is no licensed vaccine for Marburg, although there are vaccines under development, and WHO is working with our partners to seek opportunities to assess them during this outbreak through the R&D Blueprint for Epidemics.
In October, WHO reported results of the Solidarity Trial, which tested four treatments for COVID-19, involving almost 13,000 patients in 500 hospitals, in 30 countries. Today we are pleased to announce the next phase in the Solidarity trial, called Solidarity PLUS.  
Solidarity PLUS will test three drugs: artesunate, a treatment for severe malaria; imatinib, a drug for certain cancers; and infliximab, a treatment for immune system disorders such as Crohn’s disease. The trial involves thousands of researchers at more than 600 hospitals in 52 countries.  
I would like to thank the governments, hospitals, researchers and patients who are participating in the trial, as well as the three manufacturers who have donated the drugs for the trial: Ipca, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson.



Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 9 August 2021
n this edition of the COVID-19 Weekly Operational Update, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to countries include:
Working with indigenous communities in COVID-19 pandemic responses in the Americas
Successful and safe hajj season in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 pandemic
Viet Nam receives additional COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility
Sri Lanka receives a large consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility
Infectious Substance Shipment Training (ISST) for priority countries in Kazakhstan
Increasing COVID-19 risk messaging to scale-up community knowledge and perceptions in Nigeria
Solidarity Response Fund initiative on engaging civil society organizations in COVID-19 response at national and local levels
Progress on a subset of indicators from the SPRP 2021 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
Updates on WHO’s financing to support countries in SPRP 2021 implementation and provision of critical supplies.
Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 10 August 2021
On 5 August, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases globally surpassed 200 million, just six months after reaching 100 million cases. This week alone, over 4.2 million new cases and over 65 000 new deaths were reported, a slight increase as compared to the previous week. The largest proportionate increases in new cases were reported by the Region of the Americas (14%) and Western Pacific Region (19%), with 1.3 million and over 375 000 new cases reported, respectively. Additionally, a substantial increase (46%) in the number of new deaths was reported this week in the Western Pacific Region (Table 1). Of the 228 Member States and territories, 38 (17%) reported more than a 50% increase in new cases as compared to the previous week and 34 (15%) reported a more than a 50% increase in new deaths.

In this edition, one special focus is included:
A detailed update on the phenotypic characteristics (transmissibility, disease severity, risk of reinfection, and impacts on diagnostics and vaccine effectiveness) of SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. It also includes updates on the geographic distribution of VOCs.