KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

E.U. Draft Proposal On WHO Reform Urges Transparency In Handling Of Disease Outbreaks; China Signals Desire To Take Active Role In Reform Process

Reuters: Exclusive: In WHO overhaul push, E.U. urges changes to handling of pandemics
“The European Union wants the World Health Organization to become more transparent about how states report emerging health crises, a draft proposal on reforming the U.N. agency says, following criticism of China’s initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper, drawn up by the German government after discussions with other member states, is the latest to outline the E.U.’s months-long plans to address the WHO’s shortcomings on funding, governance, and legal powers…” (Guarascio et al., 10/22).

Reuters: China wants to take active role in WHO reform process: foreign ministry
“China’s foreign ministry said Beijing wants to take an active role in the World Health Organization reform process…” (Crossley/Woo, 10/22).

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Europe Overtakes Latin America As Region With Most COVID-19 Cases; Some Countries Reinstate Lockdowns As Cases Rise Again

Devex: Latin America no longer region with most COVID-19 cases
“The world region with the highest COVID-19 caseload is no longer Latin America and the Caribbean, Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne announced Wednesday. A resurgence of the disease in Europe means it has overtaken the Americas, which had led in the number of coronavirus cases for months…” (Welsh, 10/22).

Washington Post: Why countries are resorting to pandemic lockdowns again
“The lockdowns are back. On Thursday, Ireland is set to become the first country in Europe to impose a second national lockdown as cases of the novel coronavirus surge once again. … The return of lockdowns highlights an uncomfortable reality: Despite significant medical advances in the treatment of covid-19 and an unprecedented race to find a vaccine to beat the virus, the only proven measures to stop its rampant spread as of yet are crude, perhaps draconian limits on human interaction…” (Taylor, 10/22).

Additional coverage of lockdowns, mortality in the second wave, and COVID-19 outbreaks outside of the U.S. is available from Financial Times, NPR, and Washington Post.

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CDC Issues New Guidance Expanding Definition Of 'Close Contact,' Underscoring Importance Of Mask-Wearing

Washington Post: CDC expands definition of who is a ‘close contact’ of an individual with covid-19
“Federal health officials issued new guidance on Wednesday that greatly expands the pool of people considered at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus by changing the definition of who is a ‘close contact’ of an infected individual. The change by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is likely to have its biggest impact in schools, workplaces, and other group settings where people are in contact with others for long periods of time. It also underscores the importance of mask-wearing to prevent spread of the virus, even as President Trump and his top coronavirus adviser continue to raise doubts about such guidance…” (Sun, 10/21).

Additional coverage of the new CDC guidance is available from AP and STAT.

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AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Will Continue After Volunteer In Placebo Arm Dies; Large Vaccine Trial Results Set To Be Released In Coming Weeks; Media Outlets Cover Other Vaccine-Related News

Reuters: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial Brazil volunteer dies, trial to continue
“Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but added that the trial would continue. … A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the control group that was given a meningitis jab…” (Simoes, 10/21).

Washington Post: Unprecedented vaccine trials on track to begin delivering results
“In a matter of weeks, one of the most closely watched human experiments in history will start to report early results, with data on prospective coronavirus vaccines possibly coming this month or in November from the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and the biotechnology company Moderna. Amid the turmoil, chaos, and misinformation that have defined the U.S. response to the pandemic, progress toward a vaccine, or vaccines, has been steady, reassuring, and scientific…” (Johnson, 10/21).

AP: Brazil’s Bolsonaro rejects coronavirus vaccine from China (Savarese, 10/21).

Bloomberg: Deceased AstraZeneca Trial Volunteer Didn’t Receive Vaccine (Annett/Brandimarte, 10/21).

Financial Times: How much will a Covid-19 vaccine cost? (Peel et al., 10/22).

The Hill: COVID-19 vaccine trial will continue after subject given placebo dies in Brazil (Budryk, 10/21).

POLITICO: AstraZeneca close to restarting Covid-19 vaccine trial in U.S. (Brennan, 10/21).

Roll Call: COVID-19 trials risk excluding those most vulnerable to virus (Siddons, 10/22).

TIME: You Can Now Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in China. That Might Not Be a Good Thing (Campbell, 10/22).

Wall Street Journal: How Pfizer Partner BioNTech Became a Leader in Coronavirus Vaccine Race (Pancevski/Hopkins, 10/22).

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COVID-19 Pandemic Could Severely Limit Already Slow Progress On Child Poverty, U.N./World Bank Study Shows

The Guardian: Progress in fight against child poverty could be wiped out by Covid, says report
“The world’s limited progress in tackling child poverty over recent years could be destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.N. and World Bank have warned. ‘Slow-paced, unequally distributed’ progress meant one in six children were living in poverty even before the pandemic, according to a joint study…” (Ahmed, 10/22).

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Shorter TB Regimen Found Safe, Effective In Study; Funding, Attention For New TB Vaccine Lacking

Devex: After almost 40 years, there’s now a shorter treatment for TB
“A large-scale international study found a shorter treatment course for tuberculosis, but policy considerations, as well as drug cost and availability, could delay its implementation. The current standard treatment for people with drug-susceptible TB runs for six months and includes a combination of the drugs isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide. All four drugs are taken for two months, and then patients switch to isoniazid and rifampin for the remaining four months. But results of the 31/A5349 study — led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tuberculosis Trials Consortium and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, with funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — found that a four-month treatment course replacing rifampin and ethambutol with high-dose rifapentine and moxifloxacin, respectively, is as safe and effective as the six-month treatment regimen in curing patients with drug-susceptible TB…” (Ravelo, 10/22).

Devex: Q&A: What COVID-19 means for TB vaccine development
“Experts are predicting a novel coronavirus vaccine could be available by 2021, but the timeline for the creation of a new tuberculosis vaccine remains uncertain. … In less than a year, 10 COVID-19 vaccine candidates have entered phase III clinical trials. But the coronavirus has also exposed significant gaps in funding and attention given to vaccine development for other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis. To date, the century-old bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine, mainly used for infants and young children, is the only licensed TB vaccine. By 2021, it will be 100 years since the BCG vaccine was first administered in humans…” (Ravelo, 10/22).

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10 Years After Cholera Arrived In Haiti, Victims Await Compensation From U.N.

AP: A decade after deadly cholera epidemic, Haiti awaits help
“Ten years after a cholera epidemic swept through Haiti and killed nearly 10,000 people, families of victims still struggle financially and await compensation from the United Nations as many continue to drink from and bathe in a river that became ground zero for the waterborne disease…” (Sanon/Lederer, 10/21).

Miami Herald: Cholera arrived in Haiti 10 years ago. Victims are still waiting for compensation.
“…Haiti has now gone 21 consecutive months without a recorded case of the disease — an indication that cholera may be close to eradication in the poverty-stricken nation. But victims, their lawyers and advocates continue to criticize the U.N. and successive Haitian governments for the disease’s mishandling. They note that 10 years after cholera’s introduction into Haiti [by U.N. peacekeepers], there still has been no justice for the victims, and the U.N.’s member states still refuse to adequately contribute to a victims’ support fund…” (Charles, 10/21).

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More Reports Of Sexual Abuse By Aid Workers In DRC Emerge, Says British Charity Watchdog

Thomson Reuters Foundation: U.K. lawmakers hear more reports of aid worker sex abuse in Congo
“Britain’s charity watchdog said it has received reports of at least eight cases of sexual assault and abuse by aid workers in Democratic Republic of Congo, vowing to ensure ‘robust action.’ It said the incidents were reported both before and after an investigation published last month by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the New Humanitarian in which more than 50 women accused Ebola aid workers of demanding sex in exchange for jobs…” (Peyton, 10/21).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Francis becomes 1st pope to endorse same-sex civil unions (Winfield, 10/21).

Devex: Delivering on the promise of UHC for mothers in the COVID-19 era and beyond (10/22).

Devex: Experts call for ‘deeper data’ on women’s realities at U.N. World Data Forum (Cornish, 10/22).

Devex: When the price of water is sexual assault (Root, 10/22).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: The 11th annual NTD NGO Network conference (Jesudason, November 2020).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: New guidelines to treat bacterial infections (Mushtaq/Kazi, November 2020).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Matshidiso Moeti, first female WHO Regional Director (Kirby, November 2020).

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: China’s successful control of COVID-19 (Burki, November 2020).

New Humanitarian: COVID-19 and BLM: A new era for aid? (Aly/Konyndyk, 10/21).

New York Times: The Coronavirus Has Claimed 2.5 Million Years of Potential Life in the U.S., Study Finds (Wu, 10/22).

Reuters: Five South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears (Cha, 10/21).

The Telegraph: How Nigeria beat polio: from ‘hit-and-run’ vaccine squads to digging wells (Lawal, 10/22).

U.N. News: Environmental factors behind 15 percent of deaths across Mediterranean, new U.N. report reveals (10/21).

Washington Post: Scientists around the world are turning to feces to track coronavirus outbreaks (Berger, 10/21).

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Editorials and Opinions

COVID-19's Spread In U.S. Resulted From Failure Of U.S. Governance, Opinion Piece Says

New York Times: America and the Virus: ‘A Colossal Failure of Leadership’
Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at the New York Times

“…[I]n terms of destruction of American lives, treasure, and wellbeing, this pandemic may be the greatest failure of governance in the United States since the Vietnam War. … [I]n retrospect, Trump did almost everything wrong. He discouraged mask wearing. The administration never rolled out contact tracing, missed opportunities to isolate the infected and exposed, didn’t adequately protect nursing homes, issued advice that confused the issues more than clarified them, and handed responsibilities to states and localities that were unprepared to act. Trump did do a good job of accelerating a vaccine, but that won’t help significantly until next year. … The best way to protect the economy was to control the virus, not to ignore it, and the spread of Covid-19 caused economic dislocations that devastated even homes where no one was infected. … So in what is arguably the richest country in the history of the world, political malpractice has resulted in a pandemic of infectious disease followed by pandemics of poverty, mental illness, addiction, and hunger… ” (10/22).

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International Community Must Address Root Causes Of Inequality While Addressing Short-Term Needs Of Most Vulnerable, Catholic Sister Writes In Opinion Piece

Devex: Opinion: What can the G-20 learn from Pope Francis’ vision for a post-coronavirus world?
Sister Patricia Murray, executive secretary of the International Union of Superiors General

“…Communities in low- and middle-income countries around the world are reporting growing evidence of increases in vulnerability to human trafficking and in hunger. … As COVID-19 evolved from a public health crisis to an economic one, sisters around the world brought the issue of hunger to the attention of international donors — which in turn enabled them to provide direct relief to communities. However, the long-term challenge lies in addressing the root causes of inequality, which is born out of a sick and profoundly unequal global economy. …  Ever since the first major mission statement of his papacy in 2013, the pope has consistently rejected ‘trickle-down’ economic theory, saying it simply doesn’t achieve what it claims. … The meeting of G-20 governments in November may now be our best bet for collective action, but the pandemic response by the group of rich and developing nations has so far done nothing but underwhelm. While we wait for governments to act, there is a huge job to do in continuing to address the short-term needs of the most vulnerable. For this, the international response to COVID-19 needs to be more agile and more sensitive to local communities, with resources directed to those most in need. Human trafficking and hunger are absolutely key issues, though not the only ones. … [T]he world needs to stop, pay attention to the reality of the situation, and come together to act. Our simple request is that those in power stop for a moment to listen to the women on the front line” (10/21).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

New Policy Tracker, Blog Post Examine Essential Health Services Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

PATH: COVID-19 essential health services policy tracker: interim findings report (October 2020).

World Economic Forum: Overcoming the COVID-19 disruption to essential health services
Anatole Manzi, deputy chief medical officer at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda (10/22).

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Economic Shock Of COVID-19 Pandemic Will Increase Household Poverty Levels In Latin America, New Research Says

Center for Global Development: New Research: COVID-19 Could Throw 25 Million+ People into Poverty in Latin America
In a press release, Nora Lustig, non-resident fellow at CGD, writes, “With some Latin American countries leading the world in COVID-19 infections and deaths, the economic shock of the pandemic on the region will increase household poverty levels more than previously thought, new research from authors at Tulane University’s Commitment to Equity Institute and the Center for Global Development has found. The new paper, titled ‘The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns and Expanded Social Assistance on Inequality, Poverty and Mobility in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico,’ uses household surveys to simulate the distributional consequences of COVID-19-induced lockdown policies in the four largest countries in Latin America. … The paper is available here, and a blog walking through the findings and methodology can be found here” (10/21).

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Blog Posts, Releases Spotlight TB As 51st Union World Conference On Lung Health Begins

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: The 51st Union Conference on Lung Health: Four-month regimen cures TB as well as standard six-month treatment course (Aziz, 10/21).

Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign: DR-TB and TB-Prevention Drugs Under the Microscope, 7th Edition (10/19).

UNAIDS: 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health opens today as gains in reducing TB deaths risk being set back by COVID-19 (10/20).

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Webinar Addresses Role Of Private Sector In Developing, Scaling New Tools To Address AIDS, TB, Malaria, Emerging Diseases

Friends of the Global Fight: Innovation in the Time of COVID-19: Developing and Scaling New Tools (Webinar)
“On October 21, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and GBCHealth hosted a virtual dialogue on the role of the private sector in developing and scaling new tools in the fight against AIDS, TB, malaria, and emerging pandemics. The dialogue explored how private sector innovations in prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and delivery are shaping the response and effort to end the HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria epidemics across the globe. Speakers also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the three diseases, and why the global health community must continue to remain committed to innovation…” (10/21).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue Of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has published Issue 388 of the ‘Global Fund Observer.’ The newsletter includes an article highlighting reports from the Global Fund and WHO on COVID-19 and global tuberculosis; an article on the importance of increasing domestic resources for health and improving the management of available resources to sustain Africa’s health gains; and an article on how COVID-19, weak political commitments, and low domestic investments serve as barriers to ending AIDS, TB, and malaria in Latin America and the Caribbean (10/21).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Releases October 2020 Issue Of Innovation And Impact Newsletter

USAID: Innovation and Impact Newsletter – October 2020
The latest issue of USAID’s Innovation and Impact Newsletter features the launch of Data and Advanced Analytics in HIV Service Delivery: Use Cases to Help Reach 95-95-95, which “details high-priority, advanced analytics use cases that could improve HIV service delivery globally.” The issue also highlights past and upcoming events and provides a news round-up of articles on various development and global health innovations (October 2020).

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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 October 22, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/22).

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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