News Round Up

World Population:  7,925,799,538           

Politics & Policies

December 27, 2021: The UN could have been forgiven for saying ‘I told you so’ when it became clear in November that a fast-spreading COVID-19 variant, named after the Greek letter Omicron, was a cause for concern, seemingly spreading far more quickly than the dominant Delta variant.  But whilst the fears were understandable, the arrival of Omicron shouldn’t have been a surprise, given the consistent warnings from the UN that new mutations were inevitable, given the failure of the international community to ensure that everyone, not just the citizens of wealthy countries, are vaccinated. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/12/1108442 

January 1, 2022: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in the ability of our global health architecture to prevent and respond to pandemic threats. In a momentous evolution, which may have gone unnoticed amid other debates, the global fund made pandemic preparedness and response part of its evolving mandate upon adopting its new strategy in November. https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-why-the-global-fund-must-take-on-pandemic-preparedness-102385 

Programs, Conferences, Grants, Awards & Events

January 20, 2022: Indonesia will push for the creation of a new global health agency while the country holds the presidency of the G20, President Joko Widodo said Thursday at the virtual Davos forum. https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220120-indonesia-to-push-for-new-global-health-agency-president-says 

Historical, Reports, Documents, Data & Indexes

World Population Growth: https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth

January 21, 2022: Weekly U.S, Influenza Surveillance Report: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm 

The 1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus): https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html

The sum of mortality and morbidity is referred to as the ‘burden of disease’ and can be measured by a metric called ‘Disability Adjusted Life Years‘ (DALYs). DALYs are measuring lost health and are a standardized metric that allow for direct comparisons of disease burdens of different diseases across countries, between different populations, and over time. The first ‘Global Burden of Disease’ (GBD) was GBD 1990 and the DALY metric was prominently featured in the World Bank’s 1993 World Development Report. https://ourworldindata.org/burden-of-disease

State of the Climate: Global Climate Report for Annual 2021: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202113

Click to access the USAID digital strategy 2020-2024

Research

Tuberculosis Research: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/tuberculosis

December 8, 2020: The global HIV/AIDS scientific community has begun to hail the dawn of ‘the End of AIDS’ with widespread anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and dramatic declines in AIDS-related mortality. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17441692.2020.1851743 

January 4, 2022: After more than four decades of basic research and clinical trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the MALARIA vaccine RTS,S for widespread use among children living in malaria endemic areas. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/156588 

January 18, 2022: In a new study of the ZIKA VIRUS, Northwestern University scientists have discovered a key mechanism used by the virus to evade the antiviral response of the cell it is attacking. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220118154849.htm 

January 22, 2022: ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR) is a major cause of death globally, with a burden likely to be higher than that of HIV or malaria, according to the most comprehensive assessment of bacterial AMR to date published in The Lancet. The data presented in this analysis are striking: in 2019, the deaths of 4·95 million people were associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections. 1·27 million deaths were directly caused by AMR. For the first time, the study provides estimates for 204 countries and territories, as well as data for the regional impacts of AMR. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00091-5/fulltext 

February 1, 2022: A computational study shows that dozens of mutations help the virus’ spike protein evade antibodies that target SARS-CoV-2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220201143956.htm 

Diseases & Disasters

December 14, 2021: At today’s WHO COVID-19 press conference, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that Omicron is in at least 77 nations and is spreading faster than any prior COVID variant.  https://www.idsociety.org/science-speaks-blog/2021/how-is-omicron-outcompeting-delta-so-quickly-six-possibilities-to-consider/ 

December 23, 2021: In 2021, nine countries in the WHO African Region (Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Republic of Congo,) reported human laboratory confirmed cases of yellow fever (YF) in areas that are at high risk for the disease and have a history of YF transmission and outbreaks. https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/yellow-fever—west-and-central-africa 

January 11, 2022: The United States reported 1.35 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, the highest daily total for any country in the world as the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/us-reports-least-11-mln-covid-cases-day-shattering-global-record-2022-01-11/ 

January 14, 2022: The Republic of Botswana has been in the news recently for being the first nation in the world to detect the omicron variant of COVID-19 – a testament to the rigor of the country’s virus sequencing efforts. While perhaps less visible, Botswana also made news recently for being the first country with a high HIV burden to effectively eliminate the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2022-01-14/what-botswana-can-teach-the-world-about-solving-a-health-crisis 

January 15, 2022: Nations around the planet are making a subtle but consequential pivot in their war against the coronavirus: crushing the virus is no longer the strategy. Many countries are just hoping for a draw.  It’s a strategic retreat, signaled in overt and subtle ways from Washington to Madrid to Pretoria, South Africa, to Canberra, Australia. Notably, few countries today outside of China — which is still locking down cities — cling a to “zero-covid” strategy. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/01/15/living-with-the-virus/ 

January 16, 2022: When the first consignment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes State in South Sudan, WHO State Polio Officer Dr. Jiel Jiel was prepared. In support of the Ministry of Health, and in collaboration with partners, he had been working for weeks to help coordinate the vaccine rollout, using skills gained from working to eradicate polio. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/polio-team-s-support-for-covid-19-vaccination-demonstrates-their-value-for-global-health 

January 20, 2022: More than 1.2 million people died worldwide in 2019 from infections caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the largest study of the issue to date. This is more than the annual death toll from malaria or Aids.  Poorer countries are worst affected but antimicrobial resistance threatens everyone’s health, the report says. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-60058120

Technology 

January 12, 2022: In India, only 1% to 8% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed in the early, stage 1 period of the disease, compared with 60% to 70% in the United States.  NIRAMAI Health Analytix, a startup technology company based in India, has developed a hand-held device to screen for breast cancer. https://www.devex.com/news/how-technology-can-revolutionize-women-s-health-care-102411 

January 12, 2022: Vaccines are powerful in preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19, including from the omicron variant. But, to save as many lives as possible, the world needs other prevention strategies and effective treatments. The FDA recently authorized one, a pill called molnupiravir, developed by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck. A second antiviral pill from Pfizer, called paxlovid, also has been authorized.        https://sph.unc.edu/sph-news/the-pills-to-fight-covid-19/ 

Environmental Health 

January 19, 2022: Not everyone has access to health-sustaining fuel sources, creating a crisis of “energy poverty,” where lack of access to modern energy sources is driving three billion people worldwide to wood, dung, charcoal, or other solid fuels for cooking and heating. https://www.ehn.org/energy-justice-2656210086/saving-lives-through-reduced-solid-fuel-use

Equity & Disparities 

March 26, 2021: The pandemic has been responsible for an outbreak of violence and hate directed against Asians around the world, blaming them for the spread of COVID-19. During this surge in attacks, the perpetrators have made their motives clear, taunting their victims with declarations like, “You have the Chinese Virus, go back to China!” and assaulting them and spitting on them. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/03/26/980480882/why-pandemics-give-birth-to-hate-from-black-death-to-covid-19 

October 8, 2021: Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, analyses of federal, state, and local data have shown that people of color (POC) have experienced a disproportionate burden of cases and deaths. https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/issue-brief/covid-19-cases-and-deaths-by-race-ethnicity-current-data-and-changes-over-time/ 

January 7, 2022: Vaccine Equity and Global Economic Recovery https://www.cfr.org/event/vaccine-equity-and-global-economic-recovery 

Women, Maternal, Neonatal & Children’s Health

December 20, 2021: A new study, the largest of its kind to date, finds the first genetic causes of sudden unexplained death in children (SUDC).                https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211220190653.htm

January 3, 2022: An olfactory receptor typically associated with the sense of smell may also trigger breast cancer cells to metastasize through a signaling pathway to the brain, bones and lung. Future research could potentially lead to an inhibitor of OR5B21 to prevent cellular invasion and metastasis, thus prolonging the lives of breast cancer patients. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220103145440.htm

January 26, 2022: A personal story about the impact of the “Everyone will get COVID” mentality on families with immunocompromised children with disabilities. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/01/26/1075549754/covid-disabled-immunocompromised

January 21, 2022: Pediatricians, as the clinicians most intensively trained and experienced in children’s health, are the natural leaders of child primary health care within the medical home. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages policymakers to include pediatricians when they are crafting decisions that affect children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Pediatricians-Key-in-Policy-Decisions-That-Affects-Children-.aspx

Humanitarian, Nonprofits, Foundations & NGOs

October 21, 2021: Earlier this month, the U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck announced that it was seeking emergency use authorization for a new drug, molnupiravir, to treat mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, after reporting positive results in a Phase III trial. It’s a milestone in the world’s ongoing fight against the virus because, if approved, it would be the first novel antiviral COVID-19 treatment in oral form. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/ideas/articles/molnupiravir-covid-19-drug-access

January 6, 2022: JTF-Bravo medics perform Guatemala global health engagement. https://www.southcom.mil/MEDIA/NEWS-ARTICLES/Article/2891024/jtf-bravo-medics-perform-guatemala-global-health-engagement/ 

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