KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.S. Increasingly Isolated On Social, Health Issues At U.N.

The Guardian: Trump administration in ‘staggering’ isolation at U.N. on health issues
“The outgoing Trump administration’s final days at the United Nations have resulted in a deepening of U.S. isolation on social and health issues, with only a handful of allies including Russia, Belarus, and Syria. In one vote this week, the U.S. was entirely alone in backing its own amendment to a seemingly uncontroversial resolution about efforts to treat medical complications from childbirth. It called for the removal of references to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Population Fund. No other nation agreed, with 153 voting against the amendment and 11 abstaining. A U.N. diplomat said the spectacle of a western ally and a superpower so totally isolated was ‘staggering’…” (Borger, 11/19).

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President-Elect Biden Expected To Rescind Mexico City Policy; Experts Concerned About Lasting Impacts Of Trump Administration's Version Of Policy

Devex: Biden said he’ll rescind the ‘global gag rule.’ What then?
“President-elect Joe Biden is expected to repeal the Mexico City policy as one of his early acts in office. But a memorandum rescinding the policy — which has been expanded during President Donald Trump’s administration — is only the start of what’s needed to reverse its impacts, according to experts…” (Saldinger/Lieberman, 11/20).

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Cooperation, Transparency Needed In International Responses To COVID-19 Pandemic, Speakers At U.N. Meeting, UNCTAD Report Say

U.N. News: Collective, conflict-sensitive responses vital to address COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout
“The coronavirus pandemic has not only exacted a terrible toll on human lives, health, and economies, it has also exacerbated existing conflicts, a U.N. forum heard on Thursday, with top officials urging global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. At a joint virtual meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), ECOSOC President Munir Akram pointed to the impact on the poorest countries and the poorest people…” (11/19).

U.N. News: Development funding and trade transparency needed, to stop COVID-19 dividing the world
“The pandemic has redefined the world economy in ways that will deepen inequality and can only be reversed if a global transformation in attitudes towards trade and development allows the whole world to recover together, the U.N. trade body UNCTAD said in a report published on Thursday. The report, Impact of the Pandemic on Trade and Development: Transitioning to a new normal, said the pandemic had accelerated existing trends in trade, investment, and technology, but its impact was ’tilted towards the most vulnerable, both within and across countries’ and it would leave many developing countries with unsustainable debt burdens…” (11/19).

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G20 Expected To Call On Private Lenders To Suspend Debt Repayments Amid Pandemic; China Extends $2.1B In Debt Relief To Poor Nations; Faith Leaders Provide Recommendations To G20

Devex: Faith leaders bring recommendations to G-20
“An international group of faith leaders and advocates this week delivered a series of recommendations to Saudi Arabia, which has the presidency of the G-20, ahead of the group’s high-level summit with world leaders beginning Nov. 20. The G20 Interfaith Forum brings together faith leaders and religiously linked institutions from around the world to provide recommendations to heads of state on a host of development topics. Initially formed to address global economic issues, the G-20 has been pressed to address broader international challenges such as climate change and gender equality…” (Welsh, 11/19).

The Guardian: ‘People are suffering’: G20 to call on private lenders to suspend debt repayments
“…Governments across the developing world are struggling to adapt to widespread financial losses due to Covid-19, compounded by debt repayment to private creditors. The grouping of the largest economies, the G20, meets in Saudi Arabia this weekend, and will urge private credit institutions to suspend debt repayments, ideally to allow more spending on combating the pandemic…” (Michaelson, 11/20).

Reuters: China says has given $2.1 billion of debt relief to poor countries
“China has extended debt relief to developing countries worth a combined $2.1 billion under the G20 framework, the highest among the group’s members in terms of the amount deferred, the country’s Finance Minister Liu Kun said on Friday…” (11/20).

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'Future Of An Entire Generation At Risk,' UNICEF Warns In Report On Pandemic's Impacts On Children

New York Times: UNICEF warns of a ‘lost generation’ and finds school closures are ineffective
“One of the small mercies of the coronavirus is that the risk of serious illness in children has so far been relatively small. But that does not mean that the toll has not been devastating. Even with the promise of a vaccine on the horizon, a new report by UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children, warned that ‘the future of an entire generation is at risk,’ with the threat to children ‘increasing, not decreasing’ as the world deals with the economic fallout of the pandemic. The report, based on surveys from 140 countries, paints an alarming picture of a generation facing ‘a trifecta of threats: direct consequences of the disease itself, interruption in essential services and increasing poverty and inequality’…” (Santora, 11/19).

U.N. News: Future of an entire generation at risk, as COVID-19 pandemic drags on
“…In a report, released on Thursday ahead of World Children’s Day, UNICEF outlined ‘dire and growing’ consequences for children as the coronavirus pandemic lurches towards a second year. ‘Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a persistent myth that children are barely affected by the disease. Nothing could be further from the truth,’ said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director…” (11/19).

Additional coverage of UNICEF’s report and the pandemic’s impacts on children is available from New York Times, POLITICO, and Xinhua.

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Health Officials Call For More Effort To Slow Coronavirus Spread; Mexico Passes 100K Deaths; India Marks 9M Infections; Middle East Faces 2nd Wave; New Zealand Avoids Lockdown Using Science-Based Approach

CIDRAP News: Global officials urge more steps to drive down COVID spread
“Health officials in different parts of the world urged people to double down on their individual actions to curb the spread of COVID-19 to avoid protracted lockdowns and to maintain and improve upon hard-fought gains against the virus…” (Schnirring, 11/19).

AP: Mexico tops 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, 4th country to do so (Delgado, 11/20).

AP: WHO warns of deadly second wave of virus across Middle East (Debre, 11/19).

AP: Europe has half of world’s 4M new virus cases but sees hope (Keaten, 11/18).

Axios: New Zealand uses science to avoid coronavirus lockdown (Falconer, 11/19).

The Guardian: One death from Covid every 17 seconds in Europe, WHO says (Henley, 11/19).

NPR: India Confirms 9 Million Coronavirus Infections (Frayer, 11/20).

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Pfizer-BioNTech To File With FDA For Emergency Authorization Of Coronavirus Vaccine; Oxford Vaccine Results Expected By Year's End; Wealthy Nations Urged To Waive IP Rights On, Create Humanitarian Stockpile Of Vaccines

CNBC: Pfizer and BioNTech to request emergency authorization from FDA for Covid vaccine
“Pfizer and BioNTech will apply Friday for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their coronavirus vaccine. If Pfizer’s application is approved, the vaccine will likely be limited and rolled out in phases, with health-care workers, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions getting the first inoculations…” (Lovelace, 11/20).

The Guardian: Wealthy nations urged to give portion of Covid vaccine as ‘humanitarian buffer’
“Public health groups are lobbying countries to commit a portion of their Covid-19 vaccine supplies to a ‘humanitarian buffer’ that would be used to inoculate people living in rebel-held territories, those in asylum-seeker camps and others unlikely to receive vaccinations from their governments. The emergency stockpile is intended to act as a safety net to ensure the global effort to end the Covid-19 pandemic is not sabotaged by governments using vaccines as bargaining chip with restive populations, or simply denying it to some marginalized groups…” (Safi, 11/20).

The Guardian: U.K. faces calls to drop opposition to patent-free Covid vaccines
“The U.K. will be asked to reconsider its opposition to waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments at a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday, a move that would allow mass production of treatments and inoculations against the disease and could significantly shorten the length of the pandemic, campaigners say. India and South Africa have proposed that WTO member states be allowed to waive patents and other intellectual property (IP) rights on any treatments and tools related to Covid-19 until the end of the pandemic, including for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines that are expected to be approved for use in the coming weeks…” (Safi, 11/19).

Reuters: Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine trial results “definitely” before Christmas — investigator
“Results of late-stage trials of University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate should definitely be known by Christmas, the chief investigator on the study said on Thursday, adding it was too early to know its efficacy yet…” (Holton et al., 11/19).

Additional coverage of vaccine development and distribution is available from ABC News, AP, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Hill, STAT, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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WHO Issues Revised Guidance Recommending Against Remdesivir To Treat Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

AP: Health experts clash over use of certain drugs for COVID-19
“Health officials around the world are clashing over the use of certain drugs for COVID-19, leading to different treatment options for patients depending on where they live. On Friday, a World Health Organization guidelines panel advised against using the antiviral remdesivir for hospitalized patients, saying there’s no evidence it improves survival or avoids the need for breathing machines. But in the U.S. and many other countries, the drug has been the standard of care since a major, government-led study found other benefits — it shortened recovery time for hospitalized patients by five days on average, from 15 days to 10…” (Marchione, 11/20).

STAT: WHO group recommends against using remdesivir to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients
“…In a revised guidance issued Thursday night, the WHO’s Guideline Development Group said that it now has a ‘weak or conditional recommendation against’ using remdesivir in hospitalized patients because of clinical trial data that showed the drug did not increase survival. The group’s review also found the drug had no meaningful effect on whether patients would need to be put on ventilators. The group cautioned that its recommendations were based on ‘currently available data’ and that the certainty of the evidence was low…” (Joseph, 11/19).

U.N. News: Remdesivir no COVID-19 silver bullet, says U.N. health agency
“…The WHO press release also cites a feature article linked in the panel’s BMJ report, which says that the full story of Remdesivir will not be understood until its manufacturer, Gilead, releases full clinical study reports. In the meantime, reports the journalist who wrote the feature, Jeremy Hsu, alternative treatments such as widely available corticosteroid, dexamethasone, that has been proved to reduce mortality among some severely-ill COVID-19 sufferers, are ‘now impacting discussions about Remdesivir’s cost-effectiveness,’ in the words of the WHO press release” (11/19).

Additional coverage of WHO’s updated guidance is available from Financial Times, New York Times, and Reuters.

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White House Coronavirus Task Force Holds Briefing For First Time In Months, Urges Americans To Increase Mitigation Efforts; Fauci Discusses Pandemic Response In KHN Interview

The Hill: Fauci, Birx urge Americans to take precautions against virus in rare White House appearance
“Top Trump administration health officials made a rare appearance at the White House on Thursday to plead with Americans to redouble their efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. But — even with the country facing a worsening pandemic and ongoing attacks on the electoral process from President Trump — Vice President Pence, Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield did not take questions from the press. It was the first time they had delivered remarks from the White House briefing room in several months…” (Samuels, 11/19).

KHN: KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: What Would Dr. Fauci Do?
“…On this special episode of KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ podcast, Fauci sits down for an interview with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal, a fellow physician. They explore the thorny political landscape and discuss how regular Americans should prepare to get through the coming months — as the pandemic surges and we wait for vaccines to become available…” (11/19).

MedPage Today: CDC Urges Against Thanksgiving Travel
“The CDC weighed in Thursday on the latest burning issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic: Thanksgiving travel. Just stay home, agency officials said in a press call. The agency already had recommendations for Thanksgiving on its website, but held the call to highlight a few notable updates. Now the federal public health authority strongly recommends against any and all travel for Thanksgiving…” (Walker, 11/19).

Additional coverage of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is available from Bloomberg, KHN, New York Times, and Reuters.

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U.N. SG Guterres Warns World Lagging Behind On Climate Change Efforts, Praises E.U.'s Policies

U.N. News: Climate crisis: ‘Nowhere near the finish line’ — U.N. chief
“Pointing to its ‘pioneering legislation and policies,’ on Thursday the U.N. chief hailed the 27-member European Union (E.U.) as a ‘a leader on climate action,’ that had shown it was possible to cut emissions while achieving economic growth. Secretary-General António Guterres applauded the bloc’s climate action in a virtual address to the European Council on Foreign Relations, while emphasizing that ‘we are still nowhere near the finish line… and still running behind in the race against time’…” (11/19).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Borgen Magazine: Gene Therapy to Possibly Cure Sickle Cell Disease in Africa (Shores, 11/20).

Borgen Magazine: How World Organizations Fight the Health Crisis in African Countries (Kuzel, 11/19).

Borgen Magazine: How Technology is Advancing Global Healthcare (Hudson, 11/19).

Borgen Magazine: The United States’ Fight Against Locusts in East Africa (Scalora, 11/19).

Devex: Boris Johnson dodges questions on U.K.’s 0.7% aid commitment (Worley, 11/19).

New York Times: The culling of minks in Denmark prompts a political crisis (Erdbrink/Santora, 11/19).

New York Times: An ‘Electrifying’ Economist’s Guide to the Recovery (Gupta, 11/19).

NPR: Long-Lasting Anti-AIDS Meds Eliminate ‘Psychic Toll’ Of Daily Pill (Beaubien, 11/19).

U.N. News: Ensure safe and hygienic sanitation for all, U.N. urges, marking World Toilet Day (11/19).

U.N. News: Heartbreaking stories from refugees fleeing Ethiopia violence (11/19).

U.N. News: In the face of ridicule: one woman’s fight to bring sanitation to a Nepalese village (11/19).

Vice: Poland’s Abortion Ban Is Already Having a Chilling Effect (Hume, 11/19).

VOA News: Aid Sought for Hurricane-ravaged Central America (11/19).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19 Response, Including Equitable Vaccine Distribution, South Korea's Response, Importance Of U.S. Presidential Transition

Financial Times: Now we need to vaccinate the world
Editorial Board (11/20).

Health Affairs: COVID-19 Vaccine To Vaccination: Why Leaders Must Invest In Delivery Strategies Now
Rebecca L. Weintraub, director of Better Evidence at Ariadne Labs at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues (11/19).

The Lancet: COVID-19 vaccines: no time for complacency
Editorial Board (11/21).

STAT: The year of the pandemic: a view from South Korea
Michael Breen, author (11/19).

Washington Post: Every day spent obstructing the transition means more covid-19 deaths
Leslie Dach, founder and chair of Protect Our Care, and Nicole Lurie, strategic adviser and response lead for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (11/19).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Role Of Foreign-Born Health Care Professionals In Responding To COVID-19 Pandemic

The BMJ: The neocoloniality of who cares: U.S. underinvestment in medical education exacerbates global inequities
Eric Reinhart, PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, MD candidate at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and advanced candidate in adult psychoanalysis at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis; and Eram Alam, assistant professor of the history of medicine in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University (11/17).

Foreign Policy: The Coronavirus Is Killing Westerners. Immigrants Are Saving Them
Philippe Legrain, founder of OPEN and senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute (11/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Role Of Government In Public Health; Funding COVID-19 Recovery; Data Protection, Privacy Amid Pandemic

CATO Institute: The COVID Vaccine Trials & the Role of Government in Public Health
Terence Kealey, adjunct scholar at the CATO Institute and professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Buckingham (11/18).

Center for Global Development: Realizing Savings from Better Procurement Today to Build Resilient Health Systems for Tomorrow
Janeen Madan Keller, assistant director for global health and senior policy analyst at CGD, and Kalipso Chalkidou, director of global health policy and senior fellow at CGD (11/19).

Council on Foreign Relations: Resetting Public Health Strategy on COVID-19
Jennifer Nuzzo, epidemiologist and senior fellow for global health at CFR, and Irina A. Faskianos, vice president for the national program and outreach at CFR (11/19).

Overseas Development Institute: Scaling up multilateral bank finance for the Covid-19 recovery
Chris Humphrey, research associate, and Annalisa Prizzon, senior research fellow, both at ODI (11/18).

Think Global Health: It’s Time for Leadership That Looks Like the People It Serves
Sara Dada, global health scientist, and Roopa Dhatt, internal medicine physician and co-founder of Women in Global Health (11/19).

Think Global Health: Institutional Failures in COVID-19
Les Roberts, professor at Columbia University’s Program on Forced Migration and Health (11/18).

Think Global Health: Reducing the Risk of COVID-19 This Holiday Season
Katherine Leach-Kemon, policy translation manager at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and colleagues (11/13).

WHO: Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response (11/19).

World Bank Blog: What explains Cambodia’s effective emergency health response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
Ziauddin Hyder and Nareth Ly, both senior health specialists at the World Bank (11/19).

World Food Programme Insight: Madagascar: Drought and COVID-19 push 1.5 million people to the brink (11/18).

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Blog Posts, Releases Address Various Global Health Topics, Including Gendered Impacts Of Disease Outbreaks; Reshaping Health, Food System Priorities; Antimicrobial Resistance

BMJ Opinion: Strengthening pandemic preparedness and response begins with answering the question: where are the women?
Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics (LSE), and colleagues (11/20).

Think Global Health: Tackling the World’s Most Vexing Diseases Through Data
Lauren A. Do, research assistant at the Center for the Evaluation of Health and Risk (CEVR), and colleagues (11/16).

UNHCR: ‘Leave no one behind’ in national health plans — UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations (11/19).

World Economic Forum: The looming health catastrophe that could be more deadly than COVID-19
Emma Charlton, senior writer for Formative Content (11/20).

World Economic Forum: To feed a growing world, we need to change our food systems now
Louise Fresco, president at Wageningen University & Research (11/18).

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Podcast, Action Plan Discuss HIV, TB Prevention, Diagnostics, Treatment For Children, Adolescents

CSIS’s AIDS 2021 Podcast: The Promise and Challenge of PrEP for Adolescent Girls and Young Women
“In this episode of AIDS 2021, we discuss pre-exposure prophylaxis — PrEP — a critical HIV prevention tool for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in countries with high HIV burdens. Janet Fleischman speaks with Mitchell Warren, the executive director of AVAC, and two women working with Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in South Africa — Khanyi Kwatsha, a 26-year-old PrEP ambassador, and Elmari Briedenhann, a senior project manager. They discuss the importance of PrEP for AGYW and highlight innovative approaches to better reach this group and to address the inherent challenges of meeting the needs of this population” (11/18).

WHO: WHO and other stakeholders join forces to accelerate access to effective pediatric HIV and tuberculosis diagnostics and medicines
“On World Children’s Day, WHO is pleased to issue a call urging stakeholders to accelerate access to effective pediatric HIV and tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics and medicines. The Action Plan, which is launched today, has been developed by a wide group of stakeholders under the auspices of the Fifth Vatican High-Level Dialogue on Pediatric HIV and TB in Children Living with HIV which was held earlier this month. Children are one of the most disadvantaged populations in the HIV and AIDS and TB response…” (11/20).

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Blog Posts, Release Recognize World Toilet Day, Discuss Role Of WASH In Addressing NTDs, Innovative Toilets

Global Citizen: Why Access to Clean Water Is Essential in the Fight Against Neglected Tropical Diseases
Sarah El Gharib, freelance writer and French editor at Global Citizen (11/19).

Water Science Policy: Who Wouldn’t Want a Bluetooth Toilet?
Stephen Hilton, technical research assistant at Global Water 2020 (11/19).

WHO: World Toilet Day 2020: Sustainable sanitation and climate change (11/19).

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CSIS's 'Reset The Table' Features Commentaries On Climate Change

CSIS: Reset the Table: Week Seven: Climate Change
Week seven commentaries of CSIS’s “Reset the Table,” “a project targeting today’s challenges to global food security and calling for renewed U.S. leadership at the table,” address climate change and include a piece by Melissa D. Ho, senior vice president for freshwater and food at the World Wildlife Fund U.S., on the impact of agriculture and food systems on climate, and a piece by Christian Man, non-resident adjunct fellow for the Global Food Security Program at CSIS, on a Biden climate policy for agri-food systems (11/18).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Participates In Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting

USAID: USAID Participates In Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial, Calls On The Governments Of Member Countries To Make Commitments
“From November 18 to 20, 2020, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be participating in the official United States Delegation to the Sixth Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial, hosted this year by the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in a live virtual format. USAID is coming together with interagency colleagues from across the U.S. Government — including representatives from the Departments of State, Health and Human Services, and Defense, and others — as well as delegations from the governments of dozens of partner countries, non-governmental organizations, and international agencies, to discuss critical issues related to global health security…” (11/19).

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GAO Releases Report On Global Food Security Assistance Provided By U.S., Other Donors

GAO: Global Food Security: Information on Spending and Types of Assistance Provided by the United States and Other Donors
The GAO released a new report on food security assistance from the U.S. and other donors. According to the report, “From 2014 through 2018, the United States and other donors provided an estimated total of more than $75 billion in global food security assistance, with the United States accounting for more than $22 billion of this total. Other countries disbursed a total of $40 billion, and multilateral donors, including international organizations and institutions with government membership, disbursed $13 billion in global food security assistance. GAO estimated that from 2014 through 2018, annual global funding for food security assistance increased from more than $13 billion to more than $16 billion” (11/19).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 20, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/20).

Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here.

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