#WHO; #Covid19; #SinovacCoronaVacCOVID19Vaccine; #Sage
WHO today validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies, and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy, and manufacturing. The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac.
WHO. Image credit: Official
“The world desperately needs multiple COVID-19 vaccines to address the huge access inequity across the globe,” said Dr. Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Health Products. “We urge manufacturers to participate in the COVAX Facility, share their know-how and data, and contribute to bringing the pandemic under control.”
WHO’s Emergency Use Listing (EUL) is a prerequisite for COVAX Facility vaccine supply and international procurement. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
The EUL assesses the quality, safety, and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as risk management plans and programmatic suitability, such as cold chain requirements. The assessment is performed by the product evaluation group, composed of regulatory experts from around the world and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), in charge of performing the risk-benefit assessment for an independent recommendation on whether a vaccine can be listed for emergency use and, if so, under which conditions.
In the case of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine, the WHO assessment included on-site inspections of the production facility.
The Sinovac-CoronaVac product is an inactivated vaccine. Its easy storage requirements make it very manageable and particularly suitable for low-resource settings.
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) has also completed its review of the vaccine. On the basis of the available evidence, WHO recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks. Vaccine efficacy results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population.
Few older adults (over 60 years) were enrolled in clinical trials, so efficacy could not be estimated in this age group. Nevertheless, WHO is not recommending an upper age limit for the vaccine because data collected during subsequent use in multiple countries and supportive immunogenicity data suggest the vaccine is likely to have a protective effect in older persons. There is no reason to believe that the vaccine has a different safety profile in older and younger populations. WHO recommends that countries using the vaccine in older age groups conduct safety and effectiveness monitoring to verify the expected impact and contribute to making the recommendation more robust for all countries.
WHO emergency use listing
The emergency use listing (EUL) procedure assesses the suitability of novel health products during public health emergencies. The objective is to make medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics available as rapidly as possible to address the emergency while adhering to stringent criteria of safety, efficacy, and quality. The assessment weighs the threat posed by the emergency as well as the benefit that would accrue from the use of the product against any potential risks.
The EUL pathway involves a rigorous assessment of late phase II and phases III clinical trial data as well as substantial additional data on safety, efficacy, quality, and a risk management plan with a focus on low- and middle-income country needs. These data are reviewed by independent experts and WHO teams who consider the current body of evidence on the vaccine under consideration, the plans for monitoring its use, and plans for further studies.
As part of the EUL process, the company producing the vaccine must commit to continuing to generate data to enable full licensure and WHO prequalification of the vaccine. The WHO prequalification process will assess additional clinical data generated from vaccine trials and deployment on a rolling basis to ensure the vaccine meets the necessary standards of quality, safety, and efficacy for broader availability.
WHO has already listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Astra Zeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna, and Sinopharm vaccines for emergency use.
SAGE is the principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization. It is charged with advising WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccines and immunization technology, research and development, to delivery of immunization and its linkages with other health interventions. SAGE is concerned not just with childhood vaccines and immunization, but all vaccine-preventable diseases.
SAGE assesses evidence on safety, efficacy, effectiveness, impact, and programmatic suitability, considering both individual and public health impact. SAGE Interim recommendations for EUL products provide guidance for national vaccination policymakers.
These recommendations are updated as additional evidence becomes available and as there are changes to the epidemiology of disease and the availability of additional vaccines and other disease control interventions.
SAGE has issued recommendations on Pfizer (8 January 2021), Moderna (25 January 2021), AstraZeneca (21 April 2021), Janssen COVID (17 March 2021), and Sinopharm (7 May 2021) vaccines, as well as issued a framework for access and population prioritization roadmap. The SAGE interim recommendations on Sinovac-CoronaVac will be available online at 17:00 CEST today.
SAGE and EUL recommendations are complimentary but independent processes. The EUL process is centered on determining if a manufactured product is quality-assured, safe, and effective. SAGE is policy-oriented, assessing safety, efficacy, public health impact, and programmatic feasibility. Policy recommendations for a vaccine are generally made only for those products that have been listed or authorized for use.
In the context of COVID-19 and due to the pressing need for vaccines, the Secretariat of SAGE and the EUL team have been working in parallel to allow WHO EUL and policy recommendations, based on the available evidence, to be issued in a synchronized manner.
#HealingAmerica; #SkyBreathMeditation; #OnlineMeditationTechnique; #AOLF; #IAFHV
A nationwide online program ‘Healing America’ focused on promoting healing across the country aims to revitalize communities where participants will learn evidence-based SKY Breath Meditation techniques.
A comprehensive range of benefits from practicing SKY Breath Meditation such as reducing stress, relieving anxiety, improving sleep, enabling a calm state of mind while making people feel happier and more optimistic have been demonstrated by over 100 independent studies (including ones from top-rated universities such as Yale, University of Arizona, and Harvard) published in peer-reviewed journals.
This initiative of a three-day online workshop would be participated by over a thousand individuals across the USA.
Recognizing the importance of breathing and meditation for healing the planet currently going through challenging times since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, the Art of Living Foundation has come forward to support various communities in America, including healthcare heroes, people of color, senior citizens and their caregivers in nursing homes/shelters, children, and educators by providing through ‘Healing America’ a unique opportunity to come together and experience the power of SKY Breath Meditation, allowing participants to discover a state of deep inner calm and happiness.
Founded in 1981 by the humanitarian and spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization operating in 156 countries.
Following Sri Sri’s philosophy of creating world peace through a stress-free and violence-free society, AOLF’s programs have touched over 400 million lives through numerous educational and self-development programs and tools by eliminating stress and fostering deep and profound inner peace, happiness, and well-being for individuals.
A humanitarian, spiritual leader, and peacemaker, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is the founder of global non-profits the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values (IAFHV) – two of the largest volunteer-run non-profits in the world – to help relieve stress and trauma, teach human values, and increase happiness.
Besides creating trauma-relief and meditation programs for at-risk youth, war veterans, prisoners, and disaster survivors, he has been an invited speaker at institutions like the United Nations, the European Parliament, the World Economic Forum, and the Israeli Presidential Conference.
For more information, visit the official Healing America website.
#LongWorkingHours; #ILO; #WHO; #EnvironmentInternationalDay
Geneva, May 17, 2021 – Long working hours led to 745 000 deaths from stroke and ischemic heart disease in 2016, a 29 percent increase since 2000, according to the latest estimates by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization published in Environment International today.
Image credit: WHO
In a first global analysis of the loss of life and health associated with working long hours, WHO and ILO estimate that, in 2016, 398 000 people died from stroke and 347 000 from heart disease as a result of having worked at least 55 hours a week. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of deaths from heart disease due to working long hours increased by 42%, and from stroke by 19%.
This work-related disease burden is particularly significant in men (72% of deaths occurred among males), people living in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions, and middle-aged or older workers. Most of the deaths recorded were among people dying aged 60-79 years, who had worked for 55 hours or more per week between the ages of 45 and 74 years.
With working long hours now known to be responsible for about one-third of the total estimated work-related burden of disease, it is established as the risk factor with the largest occupational disease burden. This shifts thinking towards a relatively new and more psychosocial occupational risk factor to human health.
The study concludes that working 55 or more hours per week is associated with an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, compared to working 35-40 hours a week.
Further, the number of people working long hours is increasing, and currently stands at 9% of the total population globally. This trend puts even more people at risk of work-related disability and early death.
The new analysis comes as the COVID-19 pandemic shines a spotlight on managing working hours; the pandemic is accelerating developments that could feed the trend towards increased working time.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way many people work,“ said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "Teleworking has become the norm in many industries, often blurring the boundaries between home and work. In addition, many businesses have been forced to scale back or shut down operations to save money, and people who are still on the payroll end up working longer hours. No job is worth the risk of stroke or heart disease. Governments, employers and workers need to work together to agree on limits to protect the health of workers.”
“Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard,” added Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, at the World Health Organization. “It’s time that we all, governments, employers, and employees wake up to the fact that long working hours can lead to premature death”.
Governments, employers and workers can take the following actions to protect workers’ health:
#UN; #WHO; #GlobalHealth; #Covid19Crisis
New York/Canadian-Media: A prestigious World Health Organization (WHO) appointed panel on Wednesday urged bold action to end the COVID-19 crisis, while also calling for the UN agency to be given greater authority to respond more quickly to future threats.
Health workers and frontliners in Gorkha District in north-central Nepal receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. © UNICEF/Preena Shrestha
“Our message is simple and clear: the current system failed to protect us from the COVID-19 pandemic”, said former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, co-chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. “If we do not act to change it now, it will not protect us from the next pandemic threat, which could happen at any time.”
Launched by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the independent panel issued its findings and recommendations after an eight-month review of lessons learned from the past year.
“The tools are available to put an end to the severe illnesses, deaths, and socio-economic damage caused by COVID-19”, said panel co-chair Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, insisting that leaders “have no choice but to act” to stop such a catastrophe happening again.
The panel - whose report contains “the authoritative chronology of what happened” - also insisted that February 2020 was “a lost month”.
This was because “many more countries” could have done more to contain the spread of the new coronavirus after the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January, after the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.
“The shelves of storage rooms in the UN and national capitals are full of reports and reviews of previous health crises. Had their warnings been heeded, we would have avoided the catastrophe we are in today. This time must be different,” said Johnson Sirleaf.
Unfit for prevention
Quicker action “would have helped to prevent the global health, social, and economic catastrophe that continues its grip”, the panel noted, adding that “the system as it stands now is clearly unfit to prevent another novel and highly infectious pathogen, which could emerge at any time, from developing into a pandemic”.
Among its recommendations – and after highlighting how the coronavirus crisis continues to devastate communities - the panel urged Heads of State to take the lead in supporting proven public health measures to curb the pandemic and implement reforms “to prevent a future outbreak” from spreading globally.
One billion dose call
The panel also advised high-income countries with adequate vaccine supply to commit to provide “at least one billion” doses to the 92 low and middle-income countries in the UN-led equitable vaccine scheme, COVAX, by September 2021.
Major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers should agree to share intellectual property rights on their jabs, it said, guided by the UN health agency and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“If actions on this don’t occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights should come into force immediately”, the panel insisted.
Turning to the world’s wealthiest countries, known as the G7, the panel of leading experts recommended that they should “immediately” stump up 60 per cent of the $19 billion required for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and strengthening of health systems.
Heads of Government should commit to these reforms at a global summit, the panel continued, by adopting a political declaration under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.
Describing its recommendations as potentially “transformative”, the panel highlighted that those least capable of withstanding the pandemic’s myriad shocks had been the worst affected.
“Up to 125 million more people are estimated to have been pushed into extreme poverty, while 72 million more primary school-age children are now at risk of being unable to read or understand a simple text because of school closures,” the experts maintained.
Women have also borne a disproportionate burden, they continued, with gender-based violence at record levels and child marriages on the increase.
Underscoring the economic shock of the past pandemic year, the experts also noted that the world “lost $7 trillion” in economic output – more than the 2019 GDP of the entire African continent ($6.7 trillion)”.
According to WHO there have been more than 159 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including over 3.3 million deaths since the pandemic began. In its weekly epidemiological update, the UN health agency noted that some 1.2 billion vaccine doses have been administered.
The number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths globally has slightly decreased in the past week, with over 5.5 million cases and over 90,000 deaths.
But “case and death incidences…remain at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic”, the WHO bulletin cautioned. New weekly cases decreased in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, while the South-East Asia Region continued its upward trajectory, reporting a further six per cent increase on the previous seven-day period.
#UN; #WHO, #Covid19
New York/Canadian-Media: Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
A pregnant woman receives antenatal care from a UNFPA-supported programme in Santa Cruz do Arari, Pará, Brazil. © UNFPA Brazil
With global attention and support focused this week on the severe crisis in India, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus used his regular media briefing to highlight the situation in South America’s largest country.
Brazil has been among nations hardest hit by COVID-19. More than 400,000 people have died from the disease, and over 14 million cases have been reported.
“Cases have now declined for four weeks in a row, and hospitalizations and deaths are also declining. This is good news, and we hope this trend continues. But the pandemic has taught us that no country can ever let down its guard”, said Tedros.
Scaling up support
Since November, Brazil has been battling an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, including among younger people. Intensive care units across the country have been at almost full capacity this month.
“Brazil has a long and proud history in public health, with three decades of investments in strengthening primary health care and progress towards universal health coverage. But the pandemic has hit Brazil’s health system hard and threatens to unravel those gains”, Tedros said.
WHO and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), are working with the Brazilian authorities to provide medicines and other urgently needed supplies, including oxygen and masks.
Brazil is also scaling up domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines, Tedros said.
Newly appointed Health Minister, Dr Marcelo Queiroga, said the Brazilian authorities are also accelerating vaccination efforts, including through better distribution of doses.
Vaccinating a South American giant
Dr. Queiroga said the country’s “diversified strategy” for the pandemic includes partnerships for technology transfer, bilateral contracts with pharmaceutical companies, and participation in the global vaccine solidarity mechanism, COVAX.
“Currently, we are distributing more than 60 million doses of vaccines, and we have already applied more than 41 million doses”, he said, speaking through an interpreter. “Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go because we need to be able to vaccinate 2.4 million people every day.”
The Health Minister appealed for countries with extra vaccine doses to share them with Brazil. He also spoke of action to support indigenous people, reporting that more than 500,000 doses so far have been distributed.
Overall, the Americas has been the region most affected by the pandemic, according to WHO.
Countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Guyana have reported a dramatic rise in infections, and health services are overwhelmed.
Dr Ciro Ugarte, Director of the Department of Health Emergencies for WHO/PAHO, said several countries have seen an increase in cases among younger people.
“These are linked to increased exposure and no vaccination in this group as most countries have few vaccines and are applying them to vulnerable older groups and healthcare workers,” he explained.
A bleak outlook
PAHO is helping countries to plan for a needed sudden increase in the use of oxygen, intubation, drugs and personal protective equipment, and to improve protection for health workers.
Dr Ugarte underscored the need for more vaccines in the region, including through COVAX and donations.
“COVAX has delivered 7.3 million doses in Latin America and the Caribbean so far, but the need for vaccines is much greater”, he said. “Many countries cannot afford large bilateral deals with producers and are relying on COVAX for vaccines, but the outlook is not optimistic for increased supplies soon.”
Moderna vaccine Emergency Use Listing
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been listed for emergency use, WHO announced on Friday.
It becomes the fifth vaccine to receive the validation, which is a prerequisite for being included in COVAX.
Emergency Use Listing (EUL) assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approvals to import and administer doses.
The Moderna vaccine had previously been reviewed by WHO’s expert advisory group, SAGE, which in January recommended its use for people 18 and above.
The other vaccines WHO has listed for emergency use are by Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Janssen.
#UN; #MalariaFreeWorld; #WorldMalariaDay
New York/Canadian-Media: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple crises it has sparked, a growing number of countries are approaching and achieving malaria elimination, the UN chief said on Sunday, World Malaria Day.
A mother and her nine-month-old baby sit under a UNICEF-supplied bed net in Upper Nile state, South Sudan. Image credit: © UNICEF/Mark Naftalin
“We commend all countries that have reached the ambitious target of zero malaria”, said Secretary-General António Guterres.
‘Key to success’
Countries with zero malaria have reached the people at risk with the necessary services, from prevention to detection and treatment, regardless of citizenship or financial status, said the top UN official.
“Sustained funding, surveillance systems and community engagement have been the key to success”, he added.
Yet, while these achievements deserve celebrating, it is important to remember the millions around the world who continue to suffer and die from this deadly illness.
Each year, malaria claims the lives of more than 400,000 people, mainly young children in Africa. And, every year, there are more than 200 million new cases of this fatal parasitic disease.
With robust political commitment, adequate investment and the right mix of strategies, “malaria can be defeated”, upheld the UN Secretary-General.
Stamping out malaria
Between 2000 and 2019, the number of countries with fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases increased from six to 27, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), calling it “a strong indicator” that malaria elimination is within reach.
The UN health agency lauded those countries that have already done so saying: “They provide inspiration for all nations that are working to stamp out this deadly disease and improve the health and livelihoods of their populations”.
In 2019, Africa shouldered 94 per cent of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide, with more than half of all cases occurring in the five countries of Nigeria, 27 per cent; Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12 per cent; Uganda and Niger, five per cent each; and Mozambique, four per cent, according to WHO.
During that same period, about three per cent per cent of malaria cases were reported in South-East Asia and two per cent in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The Americas and Western Pacific region each accounted for fewer than one per cent of all cases.
Certifying zero malaria
Certification of malaria elimination is WHO’s official recognition of a country’s malaria-free status, which it grants when a State has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous malaria transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the past three consecutive years.
Following 50 years of solid commitment by the Government and people of El Salvador to end the disease, in February it became the first country in Central America to receive the distinction.
Meanwhile China, which registered zero indigenous cases in 2016 and has stayed malaria-free to date, applied last year for the WHO malaria-free certification.
#TheRadioShow; #TimeToLaughAndBeHappy; #VelocityAthleticTraining; #Positivity; #motivation; #ShiftInConsciousness; #Visualization; #Enlightenment; #GivingToOthers; #Sharing; #Selflessness; #Gratitude; #JmRyan
Washington (U.S.)/Canadian-Media: The radio show 'Time to laugh and be happy!, created by Laila Helena Smolock, a firm believer that “laughter” is the best medicine for the soul, was aired live by Velocity Athletic Training Radio on Apr 7 at 12 P.M. (PST) in Blaine, Washington (United States), 3 P.M (EST).
Jim Ryan (left) and Helena Smolock (right). Image credit: Website
While introducing the show Helena, from Blaine Washington said that some may find this an inappropriate comment during this shift that the world’s population is experiencing.
But as the name of the radio show suggests, 'Time to laugh and be happy!' the theme of the show is to seek pure happiness in all kinds of circumstances.
She added that during her research, she discovered three classifications of laughter according to PositivePeoplePsychology.com.
Ruch and Ekman (2001) distinguish three types of laughter in non-clinical contexts: – Speaking or singing “hahaha” is Fake laughter, and then is Real laughter. But the question arises are laughter and happiness the same thing?
Jim Ryan, the author of Simple Happiness 52 ways to Lighten Up!, the guest speaker of the show throws more light on many traits like giving to others, volunteering, selflessness, gratitude, positive attitude, appreciation, being non-judgemental, visualization, and enlightenment, etc. to seek true happiness.
To validate his teaching Jim said that when he wrote his book and tried to promote it through the radio the host of the program used to ask him what happens when a terrible thing happens in his life. At that time he always struggled for an answer but by now he had realized that the path of true happiness is to just live in the moment and being prepared for the worst and half the battle is won.
Helena commented that his thoughts about living in the moment resonated with the thoughts of her teacher in Vancouver as well as with the teachings of Buddhist monks. She added that there would be a point when you hit one of the deepest emotions. Jim's Aha Moments would complement that. Once you catch that emotion, it does wonder and gives you a lot of relief that compresses negativity, and then one actually stops and visualizes.
When asked by Helena his thoughts about the power of visualization, Jim replied that visualization has been proven scientifically to be viable. He then validated his message by saying that every morning he sits and meditates, and he pictures living a happy life, as happy as it could be. This puts him in a mindset that attracts good things in his life. It is a powerful way of picturing one's success and not picture your failure. Because energy flows where attention grows. It is by paying attention to things that are not working out. Chances are they are going to work out. We have so much power within us.
Helena then narrated her own experience as a 23-year old and her desire to get a mortgage for her house. Although her friends laughed at her, she was determined and luck sided her and she could get the mortgage.
Helena said people can achieve whatever they visualize they want, by focusing on it, and then an option could be seen. This is visualization, you feel it, you breathe it, you share it that empowers you. and added that people should not give up upon their positive visualization. There is always timing. The right timing.
Jim also talked about enlightenment. Often we are judging people, by the way, they live, dress, and talk but when we turn our consciousness to enlightenment we see everyone alike.
When Helena asked him the motive for writing the book, he said that as a motivational speaker, he wanted to separate himself from others by having a book that could give him more credibility and help him in his career. Another reason is his talks to people about happiness get them all excited about the possibility of leading a happy life. But human nature is that people tend to go back to their own way of thinking. Having a book they would rekindle their excitement of reading and focus on how to be happy. So the feedback is the experience of reading about ways of happiness is so humbling and tens of thousands of people can read it and would go back and underline points. Jim said he felt blessed to have written the book to reach the public. Soon Jim's view shifted from local, to the country and then he started traveling all around the country and giving books to different kinds of audiences and telling them how to be happy and positive. He said it was a different kind of experience, speaking and giving books to the audience, and added that he felt blessed to be part of this.
The number one personal trainer of 35 years in areas of consulting, management, and corporate wellness training for clients from all walks of life, Smolock has been creating this radio show through Velocity Athletic Training Radio every Wednesday at 12 P.M. (PST) in Blaine, Washington (United States), 3 P.M (EST) for past three years.
Jim's website is www.jimryantalks.com
His email is email@example.com
Velocity Athletic Training theme song created by DJ ZAK - "INFINITE" - All rights reserved.
Velocity Athletic Training website is: https://velocityathletictraining.com
#WHO; #Covid19Pandemic; #SaleOfWildMammals; #FoodMarket
Geneva/Canadian-Media: The interim guidance, published on Tuesday, is aimed at reducing public health risks associated with these transactions as most emerging infectious diseases have wildlife origins.
“Globally, traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations. Banning the sale of these animals can protect people’s health – both those working there and those shopping there”, they said in a press release.
No way to check for viruses The temporary guidelines were issued by WHO alongside the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
They said animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Wild mammals sold in markets pose particular risk as there is no way to check if they carry dangerous viruses.
"Traditional markets, where live animals are held, slaughtered and dressed, pose a particular risk for pathogen transmission to workers and customers alike," the guidance stated.
The partners noted that some of the earliest known cases of COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, were linked to a traditional food market in Wuhan, China.
Many of the first people to have the disease were stall owners, market employees or regular visitors.
“It is likely that the virus that causes COVID-19 originated in wild animals, as it belongs to a group of coronaviruses normally found in bats”, they said.
Additional hygiene guidance
In addition to halting sales of wild animals, the guidelines also call for governments to close markets, or sections of markets, and to re-open them “only on condition that they meet required food safety, hygiene and environmental standards and comply with regulations.”
Authorities are also urged to improve hygiene and sanitation at traditional food markets to reduce transmission of zoonotic diseases.
“During this pandemic, additional measures for crowd control and physical distancing, hand washing and sanitizing stations as well as education on respiratory hygiene including on use of face masks should be introduced in market settings to limit the possibility of person-to-person transmission of disease,” they added.
#UN; #LowIncomeCountries; #Covid19Vaccines; #WHO; #VaccineSupplyConstraints
Geneva/Canadian-Media: The vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines administered have so far gone to wealthy nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Friday.
Health workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine in San Juan City, Metro Manila. Image credit: © UNICEF/Jake Verzosa
Although more than 700 million vaccine doses have been administered globally, richer countries have received more than 87 per cent, and low-income countries just 0.2 per cent.
“There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanonom Ghebreyesus, speaking during the agency’s regular briefing from Geneva.
Bilateral deals hurt COVAX
The global solidarity initiative, COVAX, has also experienced a shortage of vaccines. While the mechanism has distributed some 38 million doses so far, it was expected to deliver nearly 100 million by the end of March. , has also experienced a shortage of vaccines. While the mechanism has distributed some 38 million doses so far, it was expected to deliver nearly 100 million by the end of March.
Scaling up solidarity
COVAX partners, who include Gavi, the vaccine alliance, are working on several options to scale up production to meet the goal of delivering two billion doses by the end of the year.
Dr Seth Berkley, the Chief Executive Officer at Gavi, highlighted the need for continued solidarity.
“What we are now beginning to see are supply constraints, not just of vaccines, but also of the goods that go into making vaccines”, he said.
COVAX is in discussions with several high-income countries to get them to share surplus vaccine doses, he said. It is also developing cost-sharing mechanisms so that low income countries can buy additional doses through COVAX, funded by multilateral development banks.
Dr Berkley added that financing is also needed as demand for vaccines has risen with the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.
Concern over the ‘raging inferno’ in Brazil
WHO remains deeply concerned about what one of its experts labelled the “raging inferno of an outbreak” in Brazil, in response to a journalist’s question about scaling up vaccines to address the emergency there.
South America’s largest country has recorded more than 340,000 deaths since the pandemic began, making it second only to the United States.
Tedros said he has spoken with the newly appointed health minister, and officials at the federal level, which he hoped will “help with moving forward in our partnership.”
Continue prevention measures
Dr. Bruce Aylward, a WHO Senior Adviser, described the situation in Brazil as “very, very concerning”. Delivering more vaccines would have minimal impact, he said, emphasizing the need to continue measures that have proved to slow virus spread.
“Even by the time you get vaccines into a country, by the time you get them into people – and you’re getting them to a relatively small proportion of the population – that will have a small effect in limiting the risk to some people”, he said.
“But what you’re dealing with here is a raging inferno of an outbreak, and that requires population-level action in the rapid identification, isolation, quarantining, because you have to approach this at that scale to slow this thing down.”
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19, added that while vaccines are a powerful tool, they alone will not end the pandemic.
#AstraZenecaVaccine, #79percentEfficatyInPreventingCovid19; #Canada; #US #100percentPreventsSevereDiseaseHospitalization;
New York/Canadian-Media: Advanced trial data on its AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from a U.S. study showed 79 percent effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and 100 percent effective in halting severe disease and hospitalization, said AstraZeneca in a statement this morning.
AstraZeneca Covid19 vaccine. Image credit: Wikimedia commons
The effectiveness of the vaccine across adults of all ages including older people was reported by the investigators, which other countries with previous studies had failed to establish.
"These findings reconfirm previous results observed," said Ann Falsey of the University of Rochester School of Medicine, who helped lead the trial. "It's exciting to see similar efficacy results in people over 65 for the first time," CBC News reported.
Also, no safety concerns related to the vaccine were identified by AstraZeneca's experts, including a rare blood clot that was identified in Europe.
It was found by the scientists that there was no increased risk of clots among the more than 20,000 people who got at least one dose of the shot, which was developed with Oxford University.
Although the vaccine has been approved for use in 50 countries, including Canada, it has not yet been approved in the U.S.
Canada is expected to receive 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford product from the U.S. government perhaps as early as this week.