IFPMA Covid-19 Günlük Bülteni – 9 Nisan

09.04.2020

Top news:

  • Pfizer said it now intends to start human tests on a potential COVID-19 drug in August or September, three months sooner than it previously thought possible.
  • The WHO has listed the first two diagnostic tests for emergency use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The economic fallout from the coronavirus could increase global poverty by as much a half a billion. It will be the first time that poverty has increased globally in 30 years. These estimates come ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G20 finance ministers next week.
  • United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is set to hold a secret meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic today amid divisions on recognising its origin and international action, following efforts lead by France to support role for UN in COVID-19 crisis to secure cease-fire in South Sudan, Syrian and Yemen.
  • The WHO’s top officials in Africa say it’s too early to make an assessment of the impact of lockdowns and other measures across the continent but called for all such restrictions to be accompanied by effective public health measures to be worth their very significant social and economic costs.
  • Supplies and stockpiling are a concern, as are the growing numbers of fake medicines linked to coronavirus are on sale in developing countries.WHO  has issued its 4th medical product alert for falsified chloroquine products circulating in the WHO region of Africa found in Cameroon, DRC and Niger. 

MANUFACTURING & SUPPLY OF MEDICINES

  • BBC News: Coronavirus fuels a surge in fake medicines. Growing numbers of fake medicines linked to coronavirus are on sale in developing countries, the WHO warned. Several pharmaceutical companies in India told the BBC they are now operating at 50-60% of their normal capacity.

COVID-19 & PHARMA

  • New York Times – Pharmaceutical Profits and Public Health Are Not Incompatible – Daniel Hemel University of Chicago Law School and Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Stanford Law School write that we need the capital and creativity of the private sector to take on the coronavirus. Among all the costs that we as a society will bear because of this virus and later ones, the payout to pharmaceutical companies will be a rounding error
  • New York Times: Europe’s coronavirus export bans raise concern over insulin supplies. EU curbs on drug exports during the coronavirus emergency mostly cover medication used to treat COVID-19, including muscle relaxants, painkillers and hydroxychloroquine. The head of the EU executive has called on governments to lift such bans, warning they could precipitate dangerous shortages.

GLOBAL TRADE & ECONOMIC IMPACT

  • BBC News: Virus could push half a billion people into poverty.  The economic fallout from the coronavirus could increase global poverty by as much a half a billion. This bleak warning comes from a UN study into the financial and human cost of the pandemic. It will be the first time that poverty has increased globally in 30 years, according to the report. The findings come ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G20 finance ministers next week.
  • The Guardian: Coronavirus could double number of people going hungry. Food supplies across the world will be “massively disrupted” by the coronavirus, and unless governments act the number of people suffering chronic hunger could double, some of the world’s biggest food companies have warned (Unilever, Nestlé and PepsiCo).
  • Reuters: Sub-Saharan Africa to fall into recession in 2020, says World Bank. The bank’s Africa’s Pulse report said the region’s economy will contract 2.1% to 5.1% from growth of 2.4% last year, and that the coronavirus will cost sub-Saharan Africa $37 billion to $79 billion in output losses this year due to trade and value chain disruption, among other factors. “The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard,” World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem said.

GLOBAL RESPONSE

  • Outlook India – Covid-19: UNSC to meet on pandemic impact The UN Security Council is set to hold a secret meeting on the Covid-19 pandemictoday amid divisions on recognising its origin and international action, but it  is unlikely to adopt any resolution.
  • Foreign Policy – Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus? French President Emmanuel Macron sought in recent weeks to step into the breach, soliciting support for a virtual summit of leaders of the U.N.’s five big powers to coordinate a plan to prevent the virus from fueling greater conflict.  But the proposal has stalled amid a dispute between the United States and China over who is to blame for unleashing the deadliest pathogen in nearly a century. The hospitalization of Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was infected by the coronavirus, has put the plan on ice. Behind closed doors, France opened separate negotiations with the four other veto-wielding members of the Security Council: Britain, China, Russia, and the United States. Paris sought to secure support for a Security Council resolution that called for a stepped-up effort to promote cease-fires and peace efforts in a range of countries, from South Sudan to Syria and Yemen.
  • United Nations Global Compact: Uniting business to tackle COVID-19: Protecting our environment. As the COVID-19 crisis intensifies, it’s important for business leaders to ensure their actions are rooted in human-centric policies. The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact help ground companies’ actions in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Now, more than ever, the global business community must adopt this principles-based approach and work together to deliver the greatest impact for people and planet.
  • BBC News: Iran appeals for $5bn IMF loan as deaths near 4,000. Iran has urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve a $5bn (£4bn) emergency loan to help fight the coronavirus, as its death toll neared 4,000. 

COVID-19: FOCUS ON AFRICA

  • New York Times: Africa Must Not Be ‘Neglected’ in Virus Fight, Officials Say. African officials pushed back Thursday against the global jostling to obtain medical equipment to combat the coronavirus, warning that if the virus is left to spread on the continent the world will remain at risk. “We cannot be neglected in this effort,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters.
  • VOA News: China President pledges help to South Africa in coronavirus fight. Chinese President Xi Jinping is offering support and resources to African countries, especially South Africa, in their fight to control the COVID-19 epidemic.

VACCINE/ TREATMENT DEVELOPMENT

IFPMA members

  • Global News Wire: Pfizer and BioNTech Announce Further Details on Collaboration to Accelerate Global COVID-19 Vaccine Development. Pfizer and BioNTech are to jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine, initially in the US and Europe, and scale-up manufacturing capacity to support global supply. There is a potential to supply millions of vaccine doses by the end of 2020 subject to technical success of the development program and approval by regulatory authorities, and then rapidly scale up capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses in 2021.
  • STAT news: Pfizer says coronavirus drug could enter testing by fall. Pfizer said it now intends to start human tests on a potential drug to treat Covid-19 in August or September, three months sooner than it previously thought possible. That would still leave months more research before the medicines could reach patients, but it represents a significant acceleration of the traditional drug development timeline.
  • Egypt Independent: Egyptian pharmaceutical company to produce drug to help treat coronavirus. Medical Union Pharmaceuticals chairperson Awad Gabr said that by May the company will produce roughly 200,000 doses of chloroquine phosphate — a drug commonly used to treat Malaria — and will produce additional doses as needed. He added that chloroquine phosphate was the drug closest to being officially approved for the treatment of coronavirus.
  • The Guardian: Australian government experts at odds with health department over using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus. The government’s expert panel on disease control has recommended against the use of a controversial anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine, for treating coronavirus, directly contradicting the federal health department, which has told doctors they can prescribe it for patients.

Others

DIAGNOSTICS

  • WHOCoronavirus situation report 79. The WHO has listed the first two diagnostic tests for emergency use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move should help increase access to quality-assured, accurate tests for the disease. It also means that the tests can now be supplied by the UN and other procurement agencies supporting the COVID19 response.

WHO – Daily COVID-19 update, 9 April – update

WHO medical product alert – Falsified chloroquine products circulating in the WHO region of AfricaBetween 31 March and 2 April 2020, the WHO global surveillance and monitoring system on substandard and falsified (SF) medical products received nine reports of confirmed falsified chloroquine products from three countries. WHO requests increased vigilance within the supply chains of countries likely to be affected (Cameroon, DRC and Niger who are the countries where identified chlorquine products have been identified in this alert) including by these falsified products.

No media briefing today by Dr Tedros, but a mission briefing:

  • Today we are publishing our technical strategy update for the next phase of the response.
  • This strategy update will form the basis of our second Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which we will release in the coming days.
  • More than US$800 million has been pledged or received for the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.
  • Dr Tedros quoted as urges end to ‘politicisation’ of virus, having received received deaths threats and being subjected to racist abuse. (BBC)