Congo Ebola outbreak not yet stabilized – WHO chief

admin   •   August 30, 2018   •   3335

Congolese officials and the World Health Organization officials wear protective suits as they participate in a training against the Ebola virus near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 11, 2018. REUTERS/Samuel Mambo

The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo is on the decline, but it is too soon to say that an outbreak is stabilizing due to difficulties identifying new cases near rebel-controlled areas, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday (August 29).

Some areas close to the outbreak’s epicenter in the town of Mangina are off-limits to health workers for security reasons, hampering efforts to control the spread of the disease.

“We need to be more aggressive. The virus doesn’t actually differentiate between a rebel and so on, it’s dangerous to everybody,” Tedros told Reuters on the sidelines of a news conference, adding that the next seven to ten days would be critical to controlling the outbreak.

Since the latest outbreak was declared on August 1, 112 confirmed and probable cases have been identified in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, including 75 deaths, according to overnight data from Congo’s health ministry.

Congo has experienced 10 outbreaks of Ebola since it was discovered in the country’s forested north in 1976. The disease causes hemorrhagic fever and usually kills about half of the people it infects. — Reuters

Solidarity trial for potential COVID-19 vaccines to last 18 months

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 17, 2020

The solidarity trial for potential vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will begin in October and will last for 18 months, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

“The expected start, though we say that this is tentative because things might change, would be the 3rd week of October. The duration of this solidarity trial for vaccines would be 18 months,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The Health official also reported that the total approved budget is P89.1 million and will be funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

She also clarified that the budget is only allotted for the operational expenses as the vaccine manufacturer will be the one to supply the vaccines to be used in the clinical trial.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently looking into 34 potential vaccines: nine are under Phase III, while the remaining are under clinical trial Phase II.

The Health Department reported that 12 out of the 34 manufacturers are under negotiations with the Philippines through bilateral agreements.

“By doing this, we also increase our chances of having this allocation coming from these manufacturers because we have agreed to have the Phase III Clinical Trial here,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire also said the DOH is awaiting the response of the manufacturers to sign the Confidential Disclosure Agreement to begin trials in the country.

“All efforts are being strengthened. We can also access vaccines in spite of the different provisions of our law,” she said. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

WHO Solidarity trial para sa potensiyal na bakuna vs COVID-19, posibleng simulan sa Oktubre – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Inilatag na ng Department of Health (DOH) ang timeline sa isasagawang solidarity trial ng World Health Organization (WHO) sa bansa para sa potensiyal na bakuna laban sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, bago matapos ang buwan ng Setyembre ay tutukuyin na ang COVID-19 vaccine candidates na isasama sa trial at kung saan ito isasagawa. Nasa 34 vaccine candidates ang pinagpipilian para sa nasabing pagsusuri.

Sa Oktubre naman target simulan ang solidarity trial ngunit paglilinaw ni Vergeire, maaari pang magbago ang schedule depende sa magiging pasya ng WHO.

“Nagkaroon na ng meeting with the subtechnical working group for vaccine development kung saan, nagbigay naman ng mga updates ang WHO regarding this kasama ng team natin. Mag-uumpisa kasi una sa isang pilot site tapos, all the sites that were identified already, isasama na,” ayon sa opisyal ng DOH.

Maliban sa WHO, patuloy rin aniya ang negosasyon ng pamahalaan sa iba’t ibang kumpanyang developer at nagsasagawa ng pag-aaral para sa potensiyal na COVID-19 vaccine.

“Iyong Sinovac, yung Sinopharm, iyong kanilang confidentiality disclosure agreement we have already transmitted it to them, so while we have not received their response yet, we cannot say anything about the negotiations first because of the CDA,” ani Vergeire.

“So, hintayin natin bumalik sa atin yun with their comments and then we can finalize it and then we can give information to the public,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang sinabi ng Department of Science and Technology na sa walong zone mula sa Metro Manila, Cebu at Calabarzon na may matataas na kaso ng COVID-19 isasagawa ang solidarity trials. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

WHO urges countries not to rely on vaccine; better COVID-19 response needed

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has encouraged countries not to just wait for a vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but instead improve on the response in fighting the virus.

WHO Western Pacific Region Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai said he is optimistic about the development of COVID-19 vaccines; however, he still remains cautious. He then encourages the government of every country to further improve their contact tracing and testing when it comes to fighting the virus.

“Even if it can be managed and then develop safe and effective vaccines, production capacity will not really meet the demands coming from the entire world. I think what is important is we continue to improve our response and not just hope for the vaccine,” he said.

Kasai, meanwhile, assures countries in the Western Pacific Region, which includes the Philippines, will have fair access to COVID-19 vaccines.

The WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility aims to monitor all vaccine-related developments.

“This is the initiative to expedite the development so that people can have a volume, that people can access the safe and effective vaccine. But not only that. This is the initiative to try to find a way to distribute the vaccine in (a) safe and fair manner around the world,” he said.

Over 150 countries are included in the said global facility which aims to distribute 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccines across the globe. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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