International

Here’s what we now know about the origin of COVID-19

While calling for further studies and data on origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has concluded that all hypotheses regarding the origin of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic, remain open. The report of the international team on their Wuhan field visit, from 14 January to 10 February, was published today as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for further studies. The report stems from a Member State resolution adopted by consensus at the World

Investments in health systems prevent damage and boost economies – WHO DG

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has drummed support for improved investments in health systems. According to the organisation’s Director-General, investments in health systems can boost the economy in addition to preventing damage. Speaking at a panel discussion on the intersection of health and economics that was organised by the London School of Economics on 17 March 2021, WHO DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the WHO has been trying to make the economic case for investing in health. “The pandemic has made the

Download US FDA report on Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson is on track to become the latest vaccine in the global fight against COVI-19. Today (Wednesday), the US FDA released its report on the vaccine and you can read the entire 62 pages below. FDA-Briefing-Document According to the document, in the study that involved about 40,000 participants, as of February 5, 2021, there were 7 COVID-19 related deaths in the study in the placebo group and no COVID-19-related

Pooled COVID-19 tests may offer more efficient surveillance while maintaining sensitivity

Pooled testing for COVID-19 can maintain the accuracy of test results while reducing the use of testing resources by as much as 76%, according to two new studies of nasopharyngeal test samples. Widespread testing is critical to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows authorities to trace the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and implement effective mitigation measures. However, testing large populations with individual tests is resource-intensive, and breakdowns in supply chains and limitations on testing speeds have severely held back

New tools to help countries build effective childhood cancer programmes

A suite of tools to help countries improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer among children is being released today by the World Health Organization, on International Childhood Cancer Day. The package includes a “how-to” guide for policy-makers, cancer control programme managers and hospital managers; an assessment tool to inform implementation; and a multilingual online portal for information-sharing. The new tools will support countries with implementation of the CureAll approach, adopted by WHO’s Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer.  The Initiative, launched in 2018,

There is a new promising drug combination for melanoma

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) have identified a potential drug combination to treat uveal melanoma, a type of eye cancer. Lead author Amanda Truong, trainee in the McMahon Lab at HCI and student at the U of U, explains uveal melanoma patients frequently have changes in genes called GNAQ and GNA11, which are key targets for these drugs. This study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. “Uveal melanoma is a relatively

Health is the essential underpinning of productive, resilient and stable economies – WHO DG

The DG of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has described health as the essential underpinning of productive, resilient and stable economies. He described the COVID-19 pandemic as a powerful demonstration that health is not a by-product of growth. The DG said this while delivering opening remarks at the G20 Leaders Summit. He threw his weight behind the call earlier this week for an immediate investment of US$4.5 billion for vaccines. “This is the smart thing to do, both

New drug outperforms PreP in preventing HIV among African women

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has announced that it is strongly encouraged by new study results showing that the antiretroviral medicine cabotegravir, which is administered by injection every two months, prevents HIV among women. The study shows that the long-acting injections among women in sub-Saharan Africa were 89% more efficient in preventing HIV compared to daily tablets of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). “These results are hugely significant. UNAIDS has long been calling for additional, acceptable and effective HIV prevention options

There is a promising vaccine candidate for herpes

A genetically edited form of a herpes simplex virus — rewired to keep it from taking refuge in the nervous system and eluding an immune response — has outperformed a leading vaccine candidate in a new study from the University of Cincinnati, Northwestern University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Published Nov. 6 in the journal Nature Vaccines, the study found that vaccinating guinea pigs with the modified live virus significantly increased the production of virus-combating antibodies. When challenged with a virulent strain

President Buhari joins global call for People’s Vaccine for COVID-19

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that Nigeria will be joining the urgent global call for a People’s Vaccine for COVID-19. The President endorsed the initiative and released an official public statement in favour of the campaign. “Learning from the painful lessons from a history of unequal access in dealing with diseases such as HIV we must heed the warning that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”,” said Mr Buhari.