IFPMA Covid-19 Günlük Bülteni – 1 Nisan

01.04.2020

Top news:

  • The UN General Assembly has to decide on two rival COVID-19 resolutions. Under new voting rules instituted because the global body isn’t holding meetings, if a single country objects, a resolution is defeated. United Nations Secretary-General launches plan to address the potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 & The WHO, World Bank and IMF calling for debt relief for developing countries.
  • The efficiency/ safety of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine continues making headlines. A new study from China reports speeded up the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus. Regulators warned people of self-medication.
  • NGOs work with Governments to seize on COVID-19 to push drugmakers to provide better access to COVID-19 treatments through compulsory licensing
  • US intelligence in classified report says China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease.
  • The race for a COVID-19 got an unlikely partner: British American Tobacco.
  • Tomorrow: Twitter LIVE media briefing with WEF and WHO AFRO in COVID-19 in the African region

VACCINE/ TREATMENT DEVELOPMENT

IFPMA members

  • BBC News: Coronavirus: Potential drug treatment starts UK trials. Two studies testing remdesivir are starting in the UK – one on patients with moderate symptoms, and one on those who are in a serious condition. Trials are already underway in China and the US, with the first results expected in the coming weeks.
  • Reuters: Malaria Drug Helps Virus Patients Improve, in Small Study. The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helped to speed the recovery of a small number of patients who were mildly ill from the coronavirus, doctors in China reported this week.
  • NY Times: EMA Urges Caution on Malaria Drugs’ Use for COVID-19 in Absence of Evidence. The European Union’s drug regulator warned on Wednesday that two older malaria drugs being tested against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) should only be used in trials or national emergency use programmes, citing side effects and uncertain efficacy. Separately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration flagged shortages of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine due to a significant surge in demand.

Others

  • Bloomberg: Coronavirus Vaccine Race Gets Unlikely Partner: Big Tobacco. British American Tobacco said on Wednesday that it’s in pre-clinical testing of a plant-based vaccine via a U.S. biotech subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing. Philip Morris has said its partially owned Canadian unit Medicago expects to start human trials for a potential vaccine this summer.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

  • The Conversation: Drug companies should drop their patents and collaborate to fight coronavirus. Today’s moment of crisis calls into question, once again, the moral underpinnings of intellectual property law. These laws are crucial in incentivising the development of vital drugs, but they are far from perfect. Protecting patents must be managed ethically, which may very well result in companies occasionally forfeiting their legal rights in favour of wider public benefit.

DIAGNOSTICS

 GLOBAL RESPONSE

  • United Nations: United Nations Secretary-General launches plan to address the potentially devastating socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 and e stablishes global fund to support low- and middle-income countries. In a new report, Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, the United Nations Secretary-General calls on everyone to act together to address this impact and lessen the blow to people.
  • AP: UN General Assembly to decide on rival COVID-19 resolutions. Members have been sent two rival resolutions for consideration — and under new voting rules instituted because the global body isn’t holding meetings, if a single country objects a resolution is defeated. One resolution, which has more than 135 co-sponsors, calls for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic, including by exchanging information, scientific knowledge and best practices and by applying the relevant guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.” The other, sponsored by Russia with support from Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, also recognizes the leading role of WHO in combating the pandemic, but it calls for abandoning trade wars and implementing protectionist measures, and not applying unilateral sanctions without U.N. Security Council approval.
  • Financial Times: France proposes EU coronavirus rescue fund. France is pushing for a common EU fund to help Europe through the coronavirus crisis, but is proposing that it be limited to five or 10 years and focused on economic recovery to head off German and Dutch objections to mutualising debt obligations.

PANDEMIC DEVELOPMENTS

  • Bloomberg: China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says. China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.
  • The Guardian: Italy extends lockdown amid signs coronavirus infection rate is easing. Italy has extended its lockdown until 13 April but signs are emerging that the rate of coronavirus infection both there and in Spain, the two countries that have suffered the highest global death tolls in the pandemic so far, may be reaching a plateau.
  • The Guardian: India coronavirus cases rise amid fears true figure much higher. Doubt has been cast over India’s claim that it has no community transmission of coronavirus after the country reported its biggest daily rise in number of cases so far, connected to a religious gathering held in Delhi two weeks ago. In another worrying development, the first coronavirus case was also confirmed in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, which is India’s largest and is home to almost one million people living in close, unsanitary quarters.
  • Financial Times: Donald Trump warns of up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in US. Donald Trump said the US coronavirus death toll could quickly reach almost a quarter of a million people, as the president warned Americans to prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks”.

COVID-19: FOCUS ON AFRICA

  • FRANCE24: Could high HIV rates worsen the coronavirus crisis in South Africa? According to the UN, South Africa has 7.7 million people living with HIV of which 2.5 million do not have access to the anti-retroviral drugs which ensure the healthy functioning of the immune system. There are concerns that the ability to ward off this infection could be compromised in non-treated HIV patients. An expert stated that people with weak immune systems could remain infectious for longer periods of time. However, she emphasised that it is too soon to know what the concrete effects of HIV will be on the Covid-19 contagion.
  • Phys.org: Europe and African relations post COVID-19: Time to add size, scale and speed.
  • Anadolu Agency: Human Rights Watch doubts claims that East African nation is virus-free. On Tuesday, it criticized the Burundian government’s performance in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, accusing it of having a “denial and deflection approach to crisis management”. The rights groups also expressed doubts that Burundi was coronavirus-free so far.
  • TechCrunch: Africa Roundup: Africa’s tech ecosystem responds to COVID-19. Governments and startups in Africa started to take measures to shift a greater volume of transactions toward digital payments, away from cash which the WHO flagged as a conduit for the spread of the coronavirus. Africa’s largest innovation incubator, CcHub, announced funding and engineering support to tech projects aimed at curbing COVID-19 and its social and economic impact.

WHO – Daily COVID-19 update, 1 April

Statement by Dr. Tedros here

  • As we enter the fourth month since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection.
  • Over the past 5 weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area.
  • Many developing countries will struggle to implement social welfare programs of this nature. For those countries, debt relief is essential to enable them to take care of their people and avoid economic collapse. This is a call from WHO, the World Bank and the IMF – debt relief for developing countries.
  • There has been an extraordinary response to our call for countries to join the Solidarity trial, which is comparing four drugs and drug combinations.
    • So far, 74 countries have either joined the trial or are in the process of joining.
    • As of this morning, more than 200 patients had been randomly assigned to one of the study arms.

WHO/ FAO/ WTO statement: Joint Statement by QU Dongyu, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Roberto Azevedo, Directors-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Millions of people around the world depend on international trade for their food security and livelihoods. As countries move to enact measures aiming to halt the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic, care must be taken to minimise potential impacts on the food supply or unintended consequences on global trade and food security.

OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO joint press release: The rights and health of refugees, migrants and stateless must be protected in COVID-19 response. It is vital that everyone, including all migrants and refugees, are ensured equal access to health services and are effectively included in national responses to COVID-19, including prevention, testing and treatment. Inclusion will help not only to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, but will also serve to protect public health and stem the global spread of COVID-19