KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Experts To Join WHO Delegation In China; HHS Potentially Needs More Funding To Address Coronavirus Outbreak, Agency Tells Congress

The Hill: American experts to join WHO delegation in China to study coronavirus
“…China will allow American experts to join the delegation despite frustrations expressed by WHO and the Chinese government over the U.S. response to the coronavirus. ‘China has accepted the United States’ offer to incorporate a group of experts into a World Health Organization mission to China to learn more about and combat the virus,’ a spokesperson with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told The Hill…” (Hellmann, 2/3).

New York Times: U.S. Officials Promise ‘Aggressive Measures’ to Contain Coronavirus
“Four military bases in Texas, California and Colorado were preparing to house American citizens for up to two weeks as part of a highly unusual federal effort aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus. As of late Monday, though, expectations that a large number of Americans who had traveled to parts of China might quickly be held under quarantine had not come to pass. … The State Department will be transporting more people back to the United States from Wuhan, Dr. Messonnier said, and the C.D.C. has sent four teams to Defense Department locations where their flights will land. She said she did not know yet how many passengers would be returning. A federal quarantine has not been instituted in more than half a century, and brings considerable logistical challenges, legal implications, and strains to local authorities…” (Bosman/Grady, 2/3).

Washington Post: HHS notifies Congress that it may tap millions of additional dollars for coronavirus response
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Congress on Sunday it may need to transfer up to $136 million to help combat the fast-moving coronavirus epidemic, a new sign of how the White House has increased its response in recent days. The notification came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is quickly burning through $105 million that was set aside for emergency public-health responses to things such as the coronavirus…” (Abutaleb/Werner, 2/3).

Additional coverage of the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak is available from Reuters, Science Speaks, and Washington Post.

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Experts Comment On Possible Coronavirus Outbreak Trajectory; WHO Warns Nations To Better Prepare For Outbreaks As Many Countries Implement Aggressive Containment Protocols

CNBC: Top WHO official warns world may be ‘dangerously unprepared’ for next pandemic as coronavirus outbreak spreads
“WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday that the world may be ‘dangerously’ unprepared for the next pandemic as the flu-like coronavirus that emerged from China about a month ago spreads rapidly to new countries. At an executive board meeting in Geneva, Tedros urged the World Health Organization’s 196 member countries to ‘invest in preparedness,’ not ‘panic.’ He added that funding for outbreak preparedness in surrounding countries ‘has remained grossly inadequate’ in the past…” (Lovelace, 2/3).

STAT: Experts envision two scenarios if the new coronavirus isn’t contained
“With the new coronavirus spreading from person to person (possibly including from people without symptoms), reaching four continents, and traveling faster than SARS, driving it out of existence is looking increasingly unlikely. It’s still possible that quarantines and travel bans will first halt the outbreak and then eradicate the microbe, and the world will never see 2019-nCoV again, as epidemiologist Dr. Mike Ryan, head of health emergencies at the World Health Organization, told STAT on Saturday. That’s what happened with SARS in 2003. Many experts, however, view that happy outcome as increasingly unlikely…” (Begley, 2/4).

Wall Street Journal: Health Officials Err on Side of Caution to Contain Viral Outbreak
“Amid the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak emanating from China, companies, governments and schools are developing policies on the fly to try to halt the spread, creating a live global public-health experiment in containment. … Global health authorities are warning countries and hospitals to prepare for containment and prevention of the virus within their borders, and encouraging them to engage in international cooperation to help countries with weaker health systems. Surveillance, tracking and monitoring, isolating sick people and even quarantining certain individuals are likely reasonable or necessary from a public health standpoint to halt the fast-spreading virus, experts say…” (Abbott, 2/3).

Additional coverage of expert commentary and global reaction to the coronavirus outbreak is available from The Atlantic, CNBC (2) (3), Democracy Now!, Foreign Policy, The Hill, NPR, and U.N. News.

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China's Global Influence Impacting Response To Novel Coronavirus As Outbreak Begins To Spread Within Other Countries

Bloomberg: China’s Massive Economic Power Shapes Global Response to Virus
“As countries around the world enact measures to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, there’s an additional factor shaping their response: China’s enormous economic clout. While wealthy countries such as the U.S. and Australia — both key trading partners of China — are currently barring entry to all non-resident travelers from the mainland as the virus spreads and fatalities rise, less developed countries that rely on Beijing are taking a softer approach as they balance public health concerns, the potential economic fallout, and domestic political consequences…” (Marlow/Heijmans, 2/3).

Washington Post: Spread of coronavirus threatens to strain U.S.-China relations along with global health system
“…The rapid spread of the virus has put Beijing on the defensive for what critics have called a slow initial response to contain it and a lack of transparency over the scale of the outbreak. In a briefing for reporters, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman attempted to deflect blame by citing an ‘overreaction’ from the U.S. government that has ‘spread fear’ and set a ‘bad example’ for other nations…” (Nakamura/Fifield, 2/3).

Additional coverage of the coronavirus’s spread and response is available from AP (2) (3), CNBC, Reuters (2) (3) (4) (5), and Washington Post.

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China's President Xi Emphasizes Country's Focus On Coronavirus Control As Wuhan Reports Medical Supply Shortages

NPR: People In Epicenter Of Coronavirus Are Desperate For Medical Help
“People inside the Chinese city of Wuhan describe a coronavirus situation that sounds increasingly desperate as more of them fall sick and scramble to get treatment and hospital beds..” (Feng, 2/4).

Reuters: China’s Xi says coronavirus control the most important task
“Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday said coronavirus control was the most important task at the moment, China’s state television reported…” (Zhang/Lee, 2/3).

Washington Post: China built a massive hospital in 10 days to combat coronavirus. And it’s not enough.
“…Dubbed the ‘super-fast hospital’ by the state-owned China Daily newspaper, construction of the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan facility began formally on Jan. 25. Officials hope the facility will relieve pressure on Wuhan’s overcrowded medical institutions, where some seeking care have been turned away because of a shortage of beds and basic supplies…” (Brice-Saddler, 2/3).

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Taiwan Calls China 'Vile' For WHO Exclusion During Coronavirus Outbreak; China, WHO Say Information Flowing To Taiwan

Reuters: Taiwan calls China ‘vile’ for limiting WHO access during virus outbreak
“Taiwan dramatically escalated its war of words with Beijing on Tuesday over the island’s exclusion from the World Health Organization, saying ‘vile’ China was preventing Taiwan from getting timely information about the coronavirus outbreak. Taiwan is not a WHO member because of China’s objections. Beijing says the island is a wayward Chinese province and is adequately represented in the organization by China…” (Blanchard, 2/3).

Washington Post: ‘One China’ dispute means one big headache for Taiwan in coronavirus crisis
“…With the outbreak sickening over 20,000 and killing more than 420, critics have accused China of playing politics with people’s lives and of using its economic sway to save face and bolster its standing. The predicament is most apparent in the case of Taiwan, which has an especially tense relationship with Beijing over disputed interpretations of the island’s status. … China and the World Health Organization say that Taiwan is getting the information it needs. Beijing has accused President Tsai Ing-wen, who won reelection last month, and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party of playing politics…” (Mahtani, 2/4).

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WHO, IARC Release Reports On Cancer Prevention, Research To Recognize World Cancer Day

U.N. News: Tackle ‘unacceptable inequalities’ in cancer care, saving up to seven million lives, WHO urges
“Global cancer rates could rise by 60 percent over the next 20 years unless cancer care is ramped up in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Less than 15 percent of these nations offer comprehensive cancer treatment services through their public health systems, compared with more than 90 percent among their richer counterparts, according to the U.N. agency. … Ahead of World Cancer Day this Tuesday (4 February), WHO and its specialized International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have released two reports: one aimed at setting the global agenda on the disease; the other focused on research and prevention…” (2/3).

VOA News: Cancer Need Not Be a Death Sentence: WHO
“…In its report, WHO highlights a wide range of measures proven to be effective in preventing new cancer cases. For example, it notes tobacco-related diseases account for 25% of cancer deaths. Quitting this deadly habit, it says, can save billions of dollars and millions of lives. WHO says a vaccine against hepatitis B can prevent liver cancer. It notes another vaccine against HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection, can virtually eliminate cervical cancer” (Schlein, 2/4).

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Experimental HIV Vaccine Proves Ineffective, Researchers Say After Halting South African Clinical Trial

Devex: Promising HIV vaccine proves ineffective
“A vaccine trial against HIV in South Africa has proven ineffective, prompting the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to stop it. Scientists were cautiously optimistic about the trial, which involved 5,407 HIV-negative volunteers at 14 sites across South Africa. The announcement made on Monday underscores the difficulty involved in creating a vaccine for sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest HIV epidemic in the world, according to Dr. Larry Corey, principal investigator at the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, headquartered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which conducted the trial…” (Jerving, 2/4).

Additional coverage of the trial is available from AP, CNN, and Science.

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First Medical Relief Flight In 3 Years Leaves Yemen Capital

AP: 1st medical relief flight in 3 years departs Yemen’s capital
“A United Nations medical relief flight carrying patients from Yemen’s rebel-held capital took off Monday, the first such aid flight in over three years. Saudi Arabia controls Yemen’s airspace and has prevented any flights from leaving the capital, Sanaa, since August 2016…” (Al-Haj, 2/3).

New York Times: Mercy Flight Leaves Yemen Capital, Cracking a 3-Year Blockade
“…The seven people onboard the flight require urgent treatment for life-threatening conditions, such as kidney transplants, aid officials said. An additional 23 Yemenis, most of them women and children, are expected to follow by the end of the week on flights to Jordan and Egypt…” (Walsh, 2/3).

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Egyptian Officials Arrest Doctor, Parents Of 12-Year-Old Girl Who Died After Illegal FGM

France24: FGM kills 12-year-old in Egypt as illegal practice resists eradication
“The arrest of the parents of a 12-year-old Egyptian girl who died after undergoing genital mutilation and the doctor who performed the procedure highlight the difficulty of eradicating the increasingly medicalized felony practice…” (El-Faizy, 2/3).

The Guardian: FGM doctor arrested in Egypt after girl, 12, bleeds to death
“…Egyptian authorities have struggled for years to eradicate the practice, despite a 2008 ban and new laws in 2016 criminalizing parents and doctors who facilitate it. Under the new laws, anyone who performs FGM faces between three and 15 years in prison, while anyone accompanying girls or women to be cut faces up to three years in jail. But campaigners warned at the time that the new laws were unlikely to combat the practice, given the lack of convictions of doctors and reliance on people to self-report…” (Michaelson, 2/3).

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More News In Global Health

ABC News: Rebels kill dozens of villagers in Ebola-hit Congo (Winsor, 2/3).

AP: As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk (Webber, 1/31).

Devex: Q&A: WHO’s global strategy to tackle health misinformation (Ravelo, 2/4).

Devex: How South Africa is spearheading efforts to tackle MDR TB (February 2020).

The Guardian: ‘All we can offer is the chain’: the scandal of Ghana’s shackled sick (McVeigh, 2/3).

HealthDay News: Cervical Cancer Could All But Disappear in North America by 2040 (Preidt, 2/3).

PRI: This doctor treated hundreds in an underground hospital in Syria known as ‘The Cave’ (Jafaari, 2/3).

Reuters: Locust swarms threaten more countries in eastern Africa — FAO (Sheikh/Obulutsa, 2/3).

STAT: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to fund 30 patient groups, aiming to build a model for tackling rare diseases (Robbins, 2/3).

The Telegraph: ‘If my mother doesn’t get drugs, she beats me’: the Afghan children forced to feed their parents’ addiction (Glinski, 2/4).

U.N. News: FROM THE FIELD: ‘A piece of me’ was taken (2/4).

U.N. News: Syria: U.N. health agency highlights ‘critical health threats’ facing Idlib civilians (2/3).

VOA: U.N.: Millions of Malians In Need as Armed Groups Wreak Havoc (Schlein, 2/3).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Response To Coronavirus Outbreak

Health Affairs: What Questions Should Global Health Policy Makers Be Asking About The Novel Coronavirus?
Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University

“…The world needs to be prepared for the possibility that this international outbreak will not be contained in the foreseeable future. Here are some key questions that global health policy makers should be asking: What Is the Significance Of The WHO-Having Declared Global Health Emergency? … Unfortunately, the declaration of a PHEIC does not have major legal significance. … Should WHO Have the Flexibility to Declare an ‘Intermediate-Tier’ Emergency? … This idea has been discussed in the scientific literature, and it could have merit. … Is a ‘Lockdown’ in Wuhan city and Wider Hubei Province Justified? … [T]he available evidence suggests we should view mass quarantines with deep suspicion. … What is the Best Public Health Strategy? … The international community should mobilize its funding of research and development of a vaccine and antiviral medications for novel coronaviruses. Political leaders should mobilize funding for a surge public health response. And the WHO should demonstrate leadership by convening an international consensus meeting to develop a Global Plan of Action, including experts in public health, scientific research, health care, and anthropology. … Is There a Significant Risk in the United States or other High-Income Countries? … What is the Legal Basis, and Justifications, for Quarantines of Citizens, Foreign Nationals, and Others Arriving at U.S. Ports of Entry from Hubei and Wider China? … [W]hen the international community does respond to an ongoing outbreak like the one in Hubei province, it should use classic public health tools and avoid draconian overreaction” (2/3).

The Hill: Disease knows no borders: Responding to coronavirus
Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), member of the Oversight and Reform Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), member of the Foreign Affairs Committee

“…Currently, … U.S. global health security efforts and the interagency capacity to respond to such outbreaks as the coronavirus are largely reliant on an executive order and not specifically supported in law. That is why we introduced the bipartisan Global Health Security Act (H.R. 2166) in order to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to promoting global health security. The Global Health Security Act codifies U.S. investments in developing preparedness and response capacity abroad for public health threats to reduce or prevent their spread across borders. This bill also bolsters U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) … Republican and Democratic presidents alike have recognized the critical importance of global health security … As we’ve seen time and time again, disease knows no borders, and global health crises have immense security, economic, and humanitarian consequences. We know that saving lives from the next global pandemic starts with investing in preparedness before it strikes. Our Global Health Security Act allows us to do just that” (2/3).

Washington Post: It’s time for a ‘no regrets’ approach to coronavirus
Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and lecturer at Georgetown University

“…[W]hat would a no-regrets approach to mitigating 2019-nCoV entail? It would mean prudent over-preparation, rather than reckless overreaction. … A responsible no-regrets approach by public health authorities and global leaders would … rapidly organize and finance a robust set of measures to dramatically accelerate health system preparedness, while also planning for policies that could be triggered if a worst-case scenario emerges. An important starting point is vigorous support to front-line health providers. … Countries should also plan for extreme contingency scenarios in which normal health facilities become overwhelmed. … Finally, countries should be ready to rapidly stand up an empowered global coordinating platform to lead international action. … We are at a critical point with this outbreak. … Policymakers must focus on meaningful mitigation strategies, not symbolic public-health theater” (2/4).

Bloomberg: How the Coronavirus Could Help Trump
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg Opinion columnist and professor of economics at George Mason University (2/3).

The Conversation: The Trump administration has made the U.S. less ready for infectious disease outbreaks like coronavirus
Linda J. Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan senior lecturer in public policy and public finance at Harvard Kennedy School (2/3).

Foreign Policy: Chinese Officials Can’t Help Lying About the Wuhan Virus
James Palmer, senior editor at Foreign Policy (2/3).

The Times: Invest in research to fight the viruses that threaten us all
Joe Cerrell, managing director for global policy and advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2/3).

Washington Post: Trump freaked out over Ebola. Coronavirus doesn’t push the same buttons for him.
Ana Marie Cox, host of Crooked Media’s “With Friends Like These” (2/4).

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More Opinions In Global Health

The Conversation: What needs to happen for better cancer prevention and control in Kenya
Gershim Asiki, research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center (2/3).

The Conversation: Nigeria and disease outbreaks. Better prepared, but still weak spots
Folasade Ogunsola, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Lagos (2/3).

Devex: Opinion: Championing global efforts to eliminate cervical cancer
Bekki Field, program lead of the International Cancer Prevention Program at Cancer Research U.K. (2/4).

Devex: Opinion: Women deliver global health — why are men still leading it?
Rachel Firth, founder of Women in Dev and managing director of Global Office Consulting, and Traci Baird, president and CEO of EngenderHealth (2/4).

STAT: What record-high funding for neglected diseases doesn’t tell us about R&D for them
Nick Chapman, CEO of Policy Cures Research and lead author of the organization’s G-FINDER report (2/4).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Global Health Community Discusses Pandemic Preparedness Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

BMJ Opinion: We need new forms of governance to better manage our response to pandemics
Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, and Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, discuss the need for new governance and financing instruments to support countries’ epidemic preparedness efforts. The authors note, “First and foremost, the role of the WHO needs to be strengthened — financially and politically. … Second, the mechanism of declaring a [public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)] needs urgent revisiting. … Third, … there clearly needs to be a set of rules to which both traditional and social media need to adhere to in such critical situations. … Fourth, the mechanisms that exist to provide rapid financial help are insufficient and do not have activation criteria that fit complex situations such as the present one. … Fifth, WHO recommendations mean nothing if there are no sanctions to follow — either political or economic. … Sixth, as in other fields of policy the toughest stick to use is money” (2/3).

U.N. Dispatch’s “Global Dispatches Podcast”: How the World Health Organization is Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak
Mark Leon Goldberg, editor of U.N. Dispatch and host of the Global Dispatches Podcast, discusses the WHO’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and speaks with Ambassador John E. Lange, senior fellow for global health diplomacy at the United Nations Foundation, about how the U.S. government and organizations like the WHO respond to disease outbreaks (1/29).

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CSIS Event Explores State Of HIV In 2020, Features Sneak Peak Of Upcoming Documentary

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Success or Regress? The State of HIV in 2020
The CSIS Global Health Policy Center hosted an event on Monday exploring the state of the HIV epidemic and included a panel discussion on “where we are now, what we know works, and what can be accomplished in 2020.” The panel featured Regan Hofmann, director a.i. at the U.S. Liaison Office for UNAIDS; Jen Kates, senior vice president and director of global health & HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation; and Greg Millett, vice president and director of public policy at amfAR, and was moderated by Sara M. Allinder, executive director and senior fellow at the CSIS Global Health Policy Center. The event also featured a sneak peak of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center’s upcoming documentary, “The Pandemic Paradox: HIV on the Edge, which explores the long arc of the HIV pandemic against the backdrop of continued high levels of new infections and annual deaths” (2/3).

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GHTC Releases Fact Sheet Series On Role Of R&D Across Diseases, Health Issues

Global Health Technologies Coalition: Fact sheet series: R&D across health area
“This fact sheet series examines the role of research and development (R&D) in driving progress across different neglected diseases and health areas. Each fact sheet provides an overview of R&D for a specific disease or health area, including examples of past research successes, key missing tools, promising products in development, and how the U.S. government is contributing to R&D efforts.” The series includes fact sheets on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, emerging infectious diseases, and maternal, newborn and child health (January 2020).

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CGD Explores 3 Questions To Guide Global Family Planning Movement

Center for Global Development: From Vision to Architecture: Three Questions to Guide the Global Family Planning Movement Towards 2030
Felice Apter, visiting fellow at CGD; Janeen Madan Keller, assistant director for global health and senior policy analyst at CGD; and Rachel Silverman, policy fellow at CGD, discuss three central questions to guide the global family planning community as the design of “FP2030” begins. Questions include: “1. Will new players join the original Core Partners? … 2. How will the partnership raise and sustain resource flows? … 3. How will the family planning community move towards mutual accountability?” (2/3).

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WHO Executive Board Holds 146th Session, Appoints Directors For Africa, Europe Regions

WHO: 146th session of the Executive Board
“The 146th session of the Executive Board will take place at WHO headquarters in Geneva on 3-8 February 2020. At this meeting, members will agree on the agenda and resolutions to be considered at this year’s World Health Assembly. Topics under discussion this year include WHO’s response in severe, large-scale emergencies; research and development for diseases with epidemic potential; antimicrobial resistance; poliomyelitis; principles for global consensus on the donation and management of blood, blood components, and medical products of human origin; and promoting the health of migrants” (2/3).

WHO: WHO Executive Board appoints directors for Africa and Europe
“The WHO Executive Board, currently holding its 146th session in Geneva, has re-appointed Dr. Matshidiso Moeti for a second term as WHO Regional Director for Africa and Dr. Hans Kluge as Regional Director for Europe in his first term…” (2/3).

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February 2020 Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

WHO: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
The February 2020 WHO Bulletin features articles on accelerating universal health coverage (UHC) and includes an editorial on UHC provisions for women, children, and adolescents; a news article on pooling resources for UHC; and a policy article on tailored HIV programs and UHC (February 2020).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC, Partners Publish Health Security Supplement Examining Lessons Learned In Global Health Security Implementation

CDC: Health Security Supplement: What Works? Lessons Learned in Global Health Security Implementation
This supplement to Health Security “shares tangible examples from CDC and partners’ work to help countries build core public health capacities to quickly identify and address public health threats at their source. Articles highlight the value of effective partnerships, the strong link between local and global public health, and the importance of having measurable targets to improve global health security” (1/31).

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