KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize For Efforts To Combat Global Hunger

CNN: World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize for fight against ‘hunger as a weapon of war’
“This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its ‘efforts to combat hunger’ and its ‘contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas.’ The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which presented the award in Oslo on Friday, also described the organization as ‘a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.’ In awarding the prize, committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen noted the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global food supplies and criticized the politics of populism…” (Reynolds, 10/9).

Additional coverage of the WFP’s award is available from BBC News, CNBC, The Guardian, NBC News, NPR, Reuters, and Washington Post.

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China Joins COVAX Alliance To Support Equitable Access To Novel Coronavirus Vaccines

AP: China joins COVAX coronavirus vaccine alliance
“China, which has at least four coronavirus vaccine candidates in the last stage of clinical trials, said Friday it is joining the COVID-19 vaccine alliance known as COVAX. The country signed an agreement with Gavi, the co-leader of the alliance, on Thursday, China’s foreign ministry said. Initially, China did not agree to join the alliance, missing the deadline to join in September. … The terms of the agreement and how China will contribute are not yet clear. Chinese leader Xi Jinping previously said the country would make the vaccine a global public good…” (Wu, 10/9).

Washington Post: In reversal, China joins global Covax initiative to distribute coronavirus vaccines
“…China’s about-face now leaves two leading countries in the vaccine race, the United States and Russia, outside the alliance. Other backers include Japan, Britain, Germany, and the European Union. The White House said last month it would not join Covax because it did not want to be ‘constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China.’ Covax is co-led by the Gavi vaccine alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the WHO…” (Shih, 10/9).

Additional coverage of China’s move to join COVAX is available from Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, Business Insider, The Guardian, Reuters, and Wall Street Journal.

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The Atlantic Examines U.S. Withdrawal From WHO, China's Influence On World Stage; FP Discusses Implications Of Economic Stimulus Package Negotiations On U.S. Global COVID-19 Response

The Atlantic: How China Outsmarted the Trump Administration
“…[The WHO] has had many genuine successes — the elimination of smallpox is probably the most famous — and wields enormous influence and prestige. The removal of American funding would damage its ability to help countries cope with the new coronavirus and fight many other diseases. American withdrawal from the WHO will have another impact: China’s influence will grow. And America will lose yet another battle in an ideological war that most of us don’t even know we are fighting. For more than a decade, while we’ve been distracted by other things, the Chinese government has made the gradual rewriting of international rules — all kinds of rules, in many realms, including commerce and politics — one of the central pillars of its foreign policy…” (Applebaum, November 2020).

Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid Is Caught in the Crossfire of Trump’s Stimulus Battle
“…U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to end talks on a fresh economic stimulus package won’t just have implications at home. It is also fueling concerns that the United States will surrender influence on the world stage. … [T]he move leaves significant doubt about the future of the U.S. global response to the coronavirus pandemic — both in developing and distributing a vaccine and dealing with knock-on effects of the pandemic, such as increased hunger and poverty around the world…” (Detsch/Gramer, 10/8).

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Roll Call Examines Similarities, Differences In Trump, Biden Plans To Address COVID-19 Pandemic

Roll Call: Despite debate talk, Biden virus approach differs from Trump’s
“Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic has much in common with what the Trump administration has attempted so far, but Biden’s overall approach would likely differ from Trump’s in important ways, experts say. Both campaigns emphasize access to testing, developing vaccines, and making more medical supplies in the United States. … But Biden seems more likely to unify the planning into a cohesive national strategy and respect science, public health experts say, while President Donald Trump has prioritized reopening the economy over safety. Trump also has personally shared misinformation and flouted his own administration’s plans. Another key difference between the candidates is the role of the federal government, said Jennifer Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation…” (Raman/Siddons, 10/8).

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STAT Examines 7 Questions Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout; News Outlets Discuss Vaccine Research, Intellectual Property Issues

STAT: 7 looming questions about the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine
“…The design, testing, and mass production of multiple vaccines has never been attempted on this type of timeline, making this moment a turning point in the development of vaccines to respond to new disease threats. But the complexity of that work may pale in comparison to what comes next — the rollout of hundreds of millions of doses of never-before-used vaccines across the United States and, eventually, around the world. … Some of the looming problems aren’t foreseeable. But here are some potential hurdles that might complicate this very important effort…” (Branswell/Silverman, 10/9).

Financial Times: AstraZeneca vaccine document shows limit of no-profit pledge (Mancini, 10/7).

The Hill: AstraZeneca’s no-profit pledge for vaccine has expiration date: report (Williams, 10/8).

Nature: What China’s speedy COVID vaccine deployment means for the pandemic (Cyranoski, 10/8).

STAT: Moderna vows not to enforce Covid-19 patents, but advocates say IP should be given to WHO (Silverman, 10/8).

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Regeneron Applies For Emergency Authorization For COVID-19 Antibody Treatment; Trump Urges FDA To Quickly Grant Clearance

Washington Post: Trump pushes FDA to quickly clear coronavirus antibody treatments, erroneously calling them a ‘cure’
“President Trump and a top aide are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to quickly grant emergency clearance for a promising but unproven covid-19 therapy that the president received nearly a week ago and has credited with his rapid recovery, according to two senior administration officials. Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have called FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to urge him to accelerate the agency’s review of the drug, a cocktail of laboratory-made antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, according to the two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the efforts. Critics say that by inserting himself again into the approval process for treatments — as he did with hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma — Trump risks further undermining trust in regulators and confusing Americans since his own hopeful story may not reflect how the drug works for others. In the case of the antibody drugs, however, many physicians and scientists think they are among the most promising approaches to treat covid-19 and there may be enough evidence to support an emergency clearance…” (Johnson et al., 10/8).

Financial Times: Regeneron: the company that Trump claims cured his Covid (Stacey et al., 10/9).

Financial Times: Covid drug used to treat Trump was tested using fetus cells (Stacey, 10/8).

The Hill: Regeneron asks for emergency approval of coronavirus treatment Trump received (Bowden, 10/8).

New York Times: Trump’s Covid Treatments Were Tested in Cells Derived From Fetal Tissue (Mandavilli/Holt, 10/8).

POLITICO: Trump is promising free antibody treatments for everyone. It won’t be that simple (Brennan, 10/8).

STAT: Trump’s treatment puts a spotlight on Regeneron, and the pugnacious pair who run it (Herper, 10/8).

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Women Cited Far Less In Global Coronavirus Coverage, Experts Say

Washington Post: Women are systematically excluded from global coronavirus coverage, experts say
“…In coverage of the coronavirus, female scientists and doctors are cited far less frequently than their male counterparts, according to multiple multicountry studies. And when women are vocal, as with other policy debates and key areas of coverage, they often face online harassment and second-guessing of their expertise, several female scientists told The Washington Post. The consequences are far-reaching. The marginalization of female experience and expertise colors the information available to policymakers forming coronavirus responses — which means interests and issues important to women may get underprioritized…” (Berger, 10/8).

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Trump Administration Announces New Sanctions On Iran's Financial Sector; Experts Warn Of Humanitarian Consequences Amid Pandemic, Currency Crisis

Washington Post: Trump administration imposes crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns
“The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector Thursday in defiance of European allies who warned that the move could have devastating humanitarian consequences on a country reeling from the novel coronavirus and a currency crisis. The measures target the few remaining banks not currently subject to secondary sanctions in a step European governments say is likely to diminish channels Iran uses to import humanitarian goods, such as food and medicine, officials said…” (Hudson, 10/8).

Additional coverage of the sanctions is available from AP, CNN, Foreign Policy, The Hill, Reuters, and USA TODAY.

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AP: Brazil strains at quarantine as virus cases pass 5 million (Biller, 10/8).

AP: As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong (Charlton et al., 10/9).

AP: Spanish govt imposes state of emergency in virus-hit Madrid (Hatton et al., 10/9).

AP: Soldiers, experts to help German cities as virus cases rise (Jordans/Rising, 10/9).

Devex: In India’s Sundarbans region, natural disasters will continue to complicate vision, health care (Lieberman, 10/8).

Devex: Behind Vietnam’s COVID-19 success story (Ravelo, 10/9).

Devex: The high cost of water corruption — and how to stop it (Root, 10/9).

Devex: Keep up with the latest developments in U.K. aid (Worley, 10/9).

DW: Argentina: Violence against children rises in pandemic (10/8).

The Economist: Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last countries fighting polio (10/10).

Financial Times: Fall in new cases raises hopes in India’s battle against virus (Kazmin, 10/8).

HealthDay News/UPI: New Zika estimate suggests millions of cases went unreported (10/9).

The Lancet: 2.5 million more child marriages due to COVID-19 pandemic (Cousins, 10/10).

New Humanitarian: The debt crisis looming for poor countries (Parker, 10/8).

New York Times: What’s Special About Bat Viruses? What We Don’t Know Could Hurt Us (Gorman, 10/8).

New York Times: ‘Rural Surge’ Propels India Toward More Covid-19 Infections Than U.S. (Singh et al., 10/8).

Scientific American: COVID-19 Is Now the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. (Zhou/Stix, 10/8).

U.N. News: Universal Health Coverage ‘more urgent than ever’ — U.N. chief (10/8).

Wall Street Journal: Indonesia Has 270 Million People — and One of the World’s Lowest Covid-19 Testing Rates (Emont, 10/8).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including Gender Mortality Gap, Lessons From New Zealand's Response, Vaccine Access, Disruptions To Essential Health Services

Devex: Opinion: The COVID-19 gender mortality gap — is civil registration the answer?
Carla AbouZahr, CRVS country adviser at Vital Strategies, and Joan Sara Thomas, interim deputy country director for the Vital Strategies’ Asia-Pacific regional office (10/9).

Foreign Policy: Trump, COVID-19, and the Future of International Order
Helen V. Milner, B.C. Forbes professor of public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and director of the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, and colleagues (10/8).

Inside Philanthropy: The Pandemic Shows That Philanthropy Needs to Play the Long Game on Global Health
Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (10/7).

IPS: Does COVID-19 Imply an End to the Epoch of Science?
Daud Khan, consultant and adviser for various governments and international agencies, and Leila Yasmine Khan, independent writer and editor (10/8).

Medpage Today: Op-Ed: I Quit the U.S. Due to COVID Threat
Judy Melinek, forensic pathologist and CEO of PathologyExpert Inc. (10/6).

NEJM: Covid-19, Ebola, and HIV — Leveraging Lessons to Maximize Impact
Connie Celum, professor of global health, medicine, and epidemiology and director of the International Clinical Research Center at the University of Washington, and colleagues (10/7).

New York Times: Capitalism Is Broken. The Fix Begins With a Free Covid-19 Vaccine
Mariana Mazzucato, professor at University College London and author (10/8).

Project Syndicate: Overcoming the COVID-19 Disruption to Essential Health Services
Anatole Manzi, deputy chief medical officer in charge of clinical quality and health systems strengthening at Partners In Health, assistant professor at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, and 2020 Aspen New Voices fellow (10/8).

USA TODAY: Polio campaign of the 1950s provides a sound model for what the U.S. needs for COVID-19
Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes (10/9).

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Investing In Mental Health Critical To Addressing COVID-19, During Post-COVID-19 Era, Lancet Editorial Says

The Lancet: Mental health: time to invest in quality
Editorial Board

“The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, on Oct. 10, is increased investment in mental health. Why invest, and why now? The answer is simple. At the best of times, good mental health is needed for a society to thrive. During a pandemic, good mental health is more important than ever. Without a focus on mental health, any response to COVID-19 will be deficient, reducing individual and societal resilience, and impeding social, economic, and cultural recovery. … The economic argument for investment in mental health services is clear and has been made many times, but there is also an ethical imperative for investment, both to redress historic wrongs done to vulnerable communities and to right current inequities. On a global scale, this strategy involves the empowerment of individuals and communities, the admission that high-income countries have much to learn from the innovations of low-income and middle-income settings, and the recognition of the central role of mental health in global health security now and in the future. Investment must be about more than just money if mental health services are to be made fit to address the challenges of the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 era and to become resilient against future public health crises. There must be an investment of thought, time, and a commitment to change” (10/10).

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Eradicating Hepatitis C Requires Reaching All Populations With Diagnostics, Treatment, Partnering Across Sectors, Expert Says

STAT: Hepatitis is still a silent killer in Africa and elsewhere
Danjuma Adda, executive director of CFID Taraba and Chagro-Care Trust, national coordinator of the Civil Society Network for Viral Hepatitis in Nigeria, and 2020 New Voices fellow at the Aspen Institute

“The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded this week to three researchers who discovered the virus that causes hepatitis C. According to the announcement, ‘For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating hepatitis C virus from the world population.’ New blood tests and drugs for this deadly disease have already saved millions of lives. But for millions more around the world, the celebration is bittersweet and the revolution in diagnosis and treatment remains a distant dream. … [I]n most countries, including my own [in Nigeria], the vast majority of those who are sick are not getting diagnosed and treated until it is too late to save them. … Unlocking the mystery of hepatitis C was a towering achievement. But the next, essential step is to ensure that this discovery reaches its potential to alleviate the suffering and save the lives of millions of people in countries like mine. The global response to HIV and now Covid-19 has shown us what can be achieved when government, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector work together with a common goal. It’s time to make eradicating hepatitis such a goal” (10/9).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Lessons For Improving Pandemic Preparedness, Role Of Security Forces In Response Efforts, Investments In Mental Health

Council on Foreign Relations: Improving Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons From COVID-19
Thomas J. Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics, and development and director of the Global Health Program at CFR, and Stewart M. Patrick, James H. Binger senior fellow in global governance and director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at CFR (October 2020).

CSIS: Providers or Enforcers? The Duality of Security Forces’ Roles in Covid-19 Response Efforts
Melissa Dalton, senior fellow and deputy director for the International Security Program and director for the Cooperative Defense Project at CSIS (10/7).

IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Regeneron REGN-COV2 monoclonal antibody reported better in (non-hospitalized) patients who lack their own antibodies to SARS-CoV-2
Daniel R. Lucey, infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neill Institute, anthropology research associate at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee (10/8).

Think Global Health: The Virus Inside the White House
Samantha Kiernan, research associate on global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Terrence Mullan, assistant director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program at CFR (10/9).

World Bank: Let’s Invest in Mental Health for an Inclusive and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19
Patricio V. Marquez, senior associate at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (10/8).

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Sen. Chris Coons Discusses U.S. International Development Finance Corporation In CGD Interview

Center for Global Development: USDFC Monitor: A Q&A with Senator Chris Coons
Clemence Landers, policy fellow at CGD, writes, “This week marks two years since the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act was signed into law — establishing the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Officially, DFC is in its tenth month of operation — with most of that time characterized by unprecedented global crisis. While reflecting on DFC’s progress in implementing its core development mandate, and confronting the challenges posed the COVID-19 pandemic, we reached out to Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a lead sponsor of the BUILD Act and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We asked Senator Coons for his take on how the newest U.S. development agency is faring and what he hopes to see in DFC’s future…” (10/8).

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Wilson Center Podcast Features Discussion On State Of Sexual, Reproductive Health, Rights With Guttmacher Institute Expert

Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: The State of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: A Conversation with Dr. Zara Ahmed
Deekshita Ramanarayanan, staff intern with the Maternal Health Initiative, highlights a discussion with Zara Ahmed, associate director of federal issues at the Guttmacher Institute, about the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights and findings from Guttmacher’s recent report on unintended pregnancy and abortion. The discussion is featured on this week’s Friday Podcast (10/9).

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Disability Inclusion Must Be Integrated Into Business Supply Chain To Achieve SDGs, The Valuable 500 Head Says

World Economic Forum: Disability inclusion isn’t a tick-box exercise. It’s vital to achieving the SDGs
Caroline Casey, founder and director at The Valuable 500, discusses the importance of disability inclusion across the business supply chain, writing, “[Disability inclusion] must be consistently integrated into day-to-day decisions across the business supply chain as the norm if companies are serious about the business of growth and about fully achieving the SDGs in time” (10/9).

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From the U.S. Government

CDC's MMWR Report Updates Progress Toward Polio Eradication In Afghanistan

CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”: Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Afghanistan, January 2019-July 2020
Maureen Martinez of the Global Immunization Division in the CDC’s Center for Global Health and colleagues highlight “polio eradication activities and progress toward polio eradication in Afghanistan during January 2019-July 2020 and updat[e] previous reports.” The authors note, “Dialogue with insurgency leaders through nongovernmental and international organizations is ongoing in an effort to recommence house-to-house [polio vaccination] campaigns, which are essential to stopping WPV1 transmission in Afghanistan. To increase community demand for polio vaccination, additional community health needs should be addressed, and polio vaccination should be integrated with humanitarian services…” (10/9).

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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 9, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (10/9).

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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