KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

WHO Resumes World Health Assembly Cut Short In May, Hears Calls To Include Taiwan, Votes To Hold December Summit On COVID-19 Pandemic

AFP/France 24: WHO urged to invite Taiwan to key meeting
“The World Health Organization is facing renewed pleas to allow Taiwan to participate in a key international meeting amid fears its exclusion could jeopardize efforts to rein in the coronavirus pandemic. As many parts of the world are reeling from surging numbers of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the WHO is due Monday to resume its main annual meeting, which was cut short in May. But while the World Health Assembly (WHA) is expected to focus heavily on international coordination of the pandemic response, one international actor will not be present…” (11/6).

AP: U.N. summit in December to push action on COVID-19 pandemic
“The United Nations voted Thursday to hold a summit on the COVID-19 pandemic on Dec. 3-4 to press for action on the global spread of the coronavirus and its ‘unprecedented’ effects on societies, economies, jobs, global trade, and travel. The General Assembly voted 150-0, with the United States, Israel, and Armenia abstaining, on a resolution authorizing the meeting and spelling out arrangements. It will include prerecorded speeches by world leaders and a discussion led by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus…” (Lederer, 11/5).

U.N. News: Ahead of global health assembly, WHO stresses need for solidarity, preparation
“The COVID-19 pandemic can be defeated through science, solutions, and solidarity, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, underlining one of its core messages throughout the crisis. The reminder comes ahead of next week’s World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the U.N. agency’s decision-making body, which normally takes place in May but had to be cut short this year due to the pandemic. … A second message WHO is highlighting now is the importance of not backsliding on critical health goals, including achieving the ‘triple billion’ targets by 2023…” (11/5).

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WHO Needs Predictable Funding, Better Early Warning System For Outbreaks, Other Reforms, Oversight Panel Says

Reuters: WHO needs reforms, while preserving ‘political independence’: panel
“An oversight panel called on Thursday for reforms at the World Health Organization (WHO) including ‘predictable and flexible’ funding and setting up a multi-tiered system to warn countries earlier about disease outbreaks before they escalate. The independent experts said it was essential to preserve the U.N. agency’s ‘neutrality and political independence’ in tackling outbreaks, but did not refer directly to China or the United States…” (Nebehay, 11/5).

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WHO, UNICEF Call For Emergency Action, $655M To Address Measles, Polio Spread Amid COVID-19

Reuters: U.N. says needs $655 million to avert new measles and polio epidemics
“Severe disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to immunization campaigns against measles and polio are putting millions of vulnerable children at risk from deadly and debilitating diseases, United Nations agencies said on Friday. Issuing an urgent call for funding to avert epidemics of the contagious diseases, the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said $655 million was needed to address ‘dangerous immunity gaps’ in poor and middle-income countries…” (Kelland, 11/6).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Vital Health Services In African Nations, WHO Regional Head Warns

Reuters: Coronavirus knock-on effect hitting vital health services in Africa: WHO
“The coronavirus pandemic is having a knock-on effect on other vital health services in Africa as countries are forced to redirect already stretched resources, a regional head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. … Africa has recorded at least 1.8 million cases, with 43,700 deaths, according to the WHO. ‘A preliminary analysis by WHO indicates COVID-19 is hitting other health services really hard,’ Matshidiso Moeti, Africa director for the WHO, said in an online press conference…” (Mohammed, 11/5).

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Global COVID-19 Cases Pass 48M As More European Countries Lockdown, Request Help; No Sign Yet Of Coronavirus, Flu 'Twindemic'

CIDRAP News: Global COVID total passes 48 million; Greece locks down
“As the global total topped 48 million, Greece became the latest country in Europe to announce a lockdown and cases surged to new single-day highs in a number of other countries in the region…” (Schnirring, 11/5).

CNBC: Doctors share their ideas on how to get people to pay attention to Covid restrictions
“The key to improving compliance with coronavirus health measures lies in effective communication between policymakers and the broader population, infectious disease experts have said. It comes as several European countries seek to impose fresh lockdown measures to tackle the spread of the disease, almost eight months after the WHO first declared Covid-19 a pandemic…” (Meredith, 11/6).

POLITICO: One hopeful sign for the pandemic
“…Here’s some good news, at least for now: There are no signs yet the Northern Hemisphere is about to be struck with a nasty flu season at the same time the coronavirus pandemic rages. The so-called ‘twindemic’ has been a big worry for infectious-disease experts because two circulating respiratory viruses with similar symptoms could overwhelm health care systems this fall and winter. Granted, it’s still early in the hemisphere’s flu season, but flu infections remain low so far, said a spokesperson for the WHO…” (Paun, 11/5).

Washington Post: Away from U.S. election fever, coronavirus rages on
“…Also on Thursday, France reported a daily record for coronavirus infections, with the country’s health minister saying that coronavirus patients already accounted for some 85 percent of French hospitals’ intensive-care capacity. This week, Germany, Hungary, and Poland also all posted daily records in new coronavirus cases. The Czech Republic, which has the highest coronavirus infection rate in Europe after Belgium, asked the World Health Organization to send an emergency medical team to the country because thousands of Czech medical professionals have been infected with the virus. Though death rates are not as high as they were in the first wave of the virus, they are slowly climbing around the world. According to a tally by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Latin America now accounts for 1 out of 3 coronavirus-related deaths…” (Tharoor, 11/6).

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U.S. Reports Record More Than 121K COVID-19 Cases On Thursday; Next U.S. President Faces Challenges On Global Health Security

New York Times: One Day in America: More Than 121,000 Coronavirus Cases
“…The coronavirus is surging out of control across the country, and more than 121,000 cases were reported on Thursday, more new cases than on any other day of the pandemic. In 43 states, new infections are climbing steadily higher. To many Americans, the pandemic’s march feels inexorable. … In a single day across America, the coronavirus churned through homes, workplaces, hospitals, schools and laboratories. From dawn to nightfall on Thursday, the worst day of the pandemic in terms of new cases, snapshots offered glimpses of the virus’s persistent spread and devastating fallout..” (Bosman et al., 11/5).

NPR: CDC Report: Officials Knew Coronavirus Test Was Flawed But Released It Anyway
“On Feb. 6, a scientist in a small infectious disease lab on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campus in Atlanta was putting a coronavirus test kit through its final paces. The lab designed and built the diagnostic test in record time, and the little vials that contained necessary reagents to identify the virus were boxed up and ready to go. But NPR has learned the results of that final quality control test suggested something troubling — it said the kit could fail 33% of the time. Under normal circumstances, that kind of result would stop a test in its tracks, half a dozen public and private lab officials told NPR. But an internal CDC review obtained by NPR confirms that lab officials decided to release the kit anyway…” (Temple-Raston, 11/6).

PRI: Next U.S. president faces uphill battle to rebuild CDC relationship with WHO
“For decades, the United States has taken the lead on global efforts to contain disease outbreaks, from polio to influenza. But during the coronavirus pandemic — and during the Trump administration generally — the U.S. has become a nation divided on science and public health. Meanwhile, the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. has deepened fears that hospitals may be unprepared and that winter will stretch the medical system’s resources. … [David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,] spoke with The World’s host Marco Werman about what ails the U.S. and what should be done to rehabilitate American standing in the global health community…” (Gordon, 11/5).

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WHO-Led Draft COVID-19 Drug Scheme Prioritizes Monoclonal Antibodies, Steroids, Eschews Remdesivir; Media Outlets, Medical Journal Report On Other Therapeutic Research

Reuters: Exclusive: WHO-led COVID drug scheme doubles down on antibodies, steroids and shuns remdesivir
“A World Health Organization-led scheme to supply COVID-19 drugs to poor countries is betting on experimental monoclonal antibody treatments and steroids but shunning Gilead’s remdesivir therapy, an internal document shows. The Oct. 30 WHO draft document seen by Reuters says priorities are to secure monoclonal antibodies in a tight market and to boost distribution of cheap steroid dexamethasone, of which it has already booked nearly 3 million courses of treatment for poorer countries…” (Guarascio et al., 11/5).

Financial Times: Regeneron looks to target most in-need patients for Covid drug (Kuchler, 11/5).

NEJM: Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Final Report (Beigel et al., 11/5).

New York Times: Nasal Spray Prevents Covid Infection in Ferrets, Study Finds (McNeil, 11/5).

The Telegraph: Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent death when taken before exposure to Covid, study finds (Newey, 11/5).

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News Outlets Report On Various Aspects Of Coronavirus Vaccine Research, Funding, Distribution Equity

BBC News: Covid-19: How a ‘warm vaccine’ could help India tackle coronavirus (Biswas, 11/5).

Devex: Funders grapple with underrepresentation in COVID-19 trials (Green, 11/6).

The Guardian: Future market for Covid vaccines ‘could be worth more than $10bn a year’ (Kollewe, 11/5).

Homeland Preparedness News: CEPI to fund development of Clover’s S-Trimer COVID-19 vaccine through phase 2/3, licensure (Galford, 11/5).

NPR: Poor Countries Fall Behind In Race To Reserve COVID-19 Vaccine (Doucleff, 11/5).

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Denmark To Cull More Than 15M Mink As Mutated Novel Coronavirus Detected In Mink Farm Workers Causes Concerns

AP: North Denmark in lockdown over mutated virus in mink farms
“More than a quarter million Danes went into lockdown Friday in a northern region of the country where a mutated variation of the coronavirus has infected minks being farmed for their fur, leading to an order to kill millions of the animals…” (Olsen, 11/6).

Financial Times: ‘Ticking bombs’: threat of mink coronavirus mutation sparks anxiety
“Denmark will gas to death and then burn up to 17m mink in the next few days as scientists debate the threat of a coronavirus strain that could be passed from humans to the animals and back again. … Danish authorities are sounding the alarm, because a mutated version of the virus which was passed from humans to mink seems to have been transmitted back to several people in northern Denmark and the new strain could be more resistant to potential vaccines…” (Milne/Cookson, 11/6).

Additional coverage of Denmark’s mink cull and the newly discovered coronavirus mutation is available from NBC News and Washington Post.

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Pandemic heaps new fears and trauma on war-scarred Bosnians (Niksic, 11/6).

Borgen Magazine: WHO Global Disability Action Plan: Overcoming Healthcare Barriers (Issula, 11/5).

Borgen Magazine: The Crisis in Venezuela (Vandervee, 11/5).

Devex: The finance quandary for eye health services (Root, 11/5).

Devex: In Tanzania election, COVID-19 denialism an ‘excuse to clamp down’ on dissent (Chakamba, 11/6).

Devex: Q&A: Understanding Jewish organizations working in global development (Saldinger, 11/6).

Financial Times: In Covid’s shadow, another U.K. health crisis looms (Wallis, 11/5).

HealthDay News: Telecommuting Shields Workers From COVID-19: CDC Report (Reinberg, 11/5).

The Lancet: Roopa Dhatt: advancing gender equality in global health leadership (Prasad, 11/7).

New York Times: Children Produce Weaker Coronavirus Antibodies, Study Finds (Mandavilli, 11/5).

New York Times: North Korea Tells Its People to Stop Smoking. But What About Kim Jong-un? (Choe, 11/5).

NPR: Child Marriages Are Up In The Pandemic. Here’s How India Tries To Stop Them (Pathak/Frayer, 11/5).

SciDev.Net: COVID-19 a ‘perfect storm’ for organ trafficking victims (Jack, 11/5).

U.N. News: FROM THE FIELD: coping with COVID in refugee camps (11/6).

U.N. News: Six humanitarians killed in ‘obscene’ attacks in one week (11/6).

Xinhua: UNICEF, WHO voice concern over severe shortage of vaccines for children in Libya (11/6).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorials, Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of COVID-19, Including COVID-19 Drug Patents; Race For Vaccine; Impact On Children, Adolescents

The Conversation: COVID-19 drug and vaccine patents are putting profit before people
Ronald Labonte, professor and distinguished research chair for Globalization and Health Equity at the University of Ottawa, and Mira Johri, professeure titulaire at École de santé publique at the Université de Montréal (11/5).

The Conversation: As the malaria season begins in southern Africa, COVID-19 complicates the picture
Jaishree Raman, head of the Laboratory for Antimalarial Resistance Monitoring and Malaria Operational Research at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Shüné Oliver, medical scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (11/5).

Financial Times: Danish mink cull highlights the unknowns of Covid-19
Editorial Board (11/6).

Foreign Affairs: China Is Winning the Vaccine Race
Eyck Freymann, author, and Justin Stebbing, professor of cancer medicine and oncology at Imperial College London (11/5).

The Hill: Vaccine race creates blind spots
Dale Chappell, chief scientific officer at Humanigen (11/5).

IPS: U.N. Takes Preventive Measures Following 5,660 Lab-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases System-Wide
Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations (11/6).

The Lancet: COVID-19 in Latin America: a humanitarian crisis
Editorial Board (11/7).

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: Growing up in the shadow of COVID-19
Editorial Board (11/5).

STAT: The hidden public health hazard of rapid Covid-19 tests
Joia Crear-Perry, OB-GYN and founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative (11/5).

STAT: Far more transparency is needed for Covid-19 vaccine trials
Jennifer E. Miller, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine and founder of Bioethics International, and colleagues (11/5).

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Public Development Banks Key To Helping Governments Finance Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: The Age of Public Development Banks Has Arrived
Stephany Griffith-Jones, emeritus fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and financial markets director at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University, and colleagues

“Major global threats — including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and rising inequality — call for large-scale concerted action. The challenge facing policymakers today is to support big structural transformations that can make economies simultaneously more productive, more inclusive, and less carbon-intensive. Public development banks (PDBs) — at the local, national, subregional, regional, or interregional level — are key to helping governments finance a rapid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and to ensuring that economies serve people and the planet far better in the long run. … Governments should enhance PDBs’ roles in supporting countries and regions that lag behind, by promoting innovation and structural transformation, funding social development, and increasing financial inclusion, adequate infrastructure, and the provision of global public goods. With combined assets of more than $11 trillion, PDBs already play a significant role in the global economy. They should now increase their individual and joint activities further, in order to finance infrastructure investment and support the provision of global public goods, especially climate mitigation and adaptation. A fair and green global recovery urgently needs all the help we can muster” (11/6).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Pandemic's Potential Impact On Cancer Care, Outcomes; Role Of Equitable Vaccine Distribution; Intersection With Food Security, Nutrition In India; COVID's Double Threat In Africa

BMJ Opinion: Counting the invisible costs of covid-19: the cancer pandemic
Timothy P. Hanna, clinician scientist at the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology at the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University and assistant professor in the Department of Oncology and Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, and colleagues (11/5).

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: Equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution will lead to the biggest reduction in deaths (11/4).

IPCS: India: How COVID-19 Accelerates Malnutrition in Women and Children
Akanksha Khullar, researcher, and Kavya Sharma, research intern, both with IPCS’s Centre for Internal and Regional Security (IReS) (11/4).

Think Global Health: The Double Threat of COVID-19 in Africa
Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (10/30).

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Paper, Event Explore NTD Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, Efforts To Prevent Drug Resistance

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: The NTD Supply Chain Forum — Strengthening the backbone of NTD programs
Ashley Souza, logistics coordinator for the NTD Support Center at the Task Force for Global Health, and colleagues “describe a unique public-private partnership that was formed to bring together supply chain expertise to overcome the critical challenges associated with … large-scale production and delivery of donated pharmaceutical products…” (11/5).

WHO: Neglected tropical diseases and One Health: gearing up against antimicrobial resistance to secure the safety of future generations
“…In order to ensure the continued efficacy of currently used antimicrobials for NTDs, it is crucial to closely monitor drug efficacy, establish robust surveillance systems for monitoring of resistance, define strategies to curb the threat of such resistance, and develop an appropriate arsenal of second-line drugs. The annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week aims to increase awareness and understanding of global antimicrobial resistance and encourage best practices among the general public, health workers, and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections…” (Moloo, 11/5).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 6, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/6).

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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KFF Updates Mexico City Policy Explainer

KFF: The Mexico City Policy: An Explainer
On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy via presidential memorandum, renaming it “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” This explainer provides an overview of the policy, including its history, changes over time, and current application. The update includes the most recent action on the policy — a proposed rule to extend the policy to contracts that was published in September. If finalized, the rule would greatly extend the reach of the policy beyond grants and cooperative agreements to also include contracts (11/4).

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