WHO: No evidence to support new coronavirus is airborne

Marje Pelayo   •   February 11, 2020   •   1537

MANILA, Philippines — Reports as to whether the deadly novel coronavirus can spread through the air have been circulating online but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no basis yet for the said claim.

WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyhasinghe maintained their position that nCoV may be transmitted via direct or close contact.

“Our position is that we don’t have evidence to support that. Our evidence is it’s still largely a droplet infection. So, I’m not quite sure what led to this rumor, it may have been something in the translation that led to this,” the WHO Official said.

“Our evidence at this point, points to the fact that this is largely respiratory infection that can be transmitted via droplets through close contact,” he added.

Dr.Rabindra said people must exercise vigilance in picking reports to believe especially in online platforms because the world is not only facing an epidemic but also an outbreak of false information.

“We need to establish that there are many things that are being reported by various countries and various researchers,” he said.

“Unless we have clear evidence to confirm that we cannot accept those theories. You are aware that we are fighting much faster an ‘infodemic’ than the virus spread,” he added.

The international health body also clarified that there is no verified information yet regarding increase in nCoV’s incubation period to 24 days neither the reports that nCoV is more infectious and has higher mortality rate than the Sever Acute Respiratory Ayndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

“If you look at the proportion of patients with severe disease, I believe that’s now 14% of all cases and the proportion of deaths is like 2% in comparison to the SARS where we had 14% and MERS where we had 34%,” Dr. Rabindra explained.

“Numerically, we are seeing more deaths but if you look at the rates it is much lower. During the SARS outbreak if my memory serves me right, we have about 8,000 cases right and 780 deaths. This time around we have 5 times as many cases already confirmed,” he concluded.

The Philippines is stepping up its preventive measures by adding 1,500 primer or reagents from WHO.

This project is part of WHO’s efforts to strengthen the country’s capability in combatting nCoV.

Such devices will facilitate faster test results among nCoV suspected patients and they can be released right away once they are tested negative of the virus.

To date, there are a total of 382 persons under investigation (PUIs) in the Philippines, 266 of them remain in hospitals.

There remained three confirmed cases of nCoV in the Philippines, two have already recovered while the other one lost the battle to the novel coronavirus. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

WHO laments world’s poorest countries might get left behind in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has lamented that distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to the “world’s poorest countries” could face delays.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said richer countries and several private companies are buying up all the available vaccines. This also causes a spike in prices of COVID-19 vaccines.

“I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure—and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries,” he said.

Ghebreyesus reported that 39 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in at least 49 higher-income countries while only 25 have been administered in one lowest-income country.

“The situation is compounded by the fact that most manufacturers have prioritized regulatory approval in rich countries where the profits are highest, rather than submitting full dossiers to WHO,” he noted.

WHO previously promised free COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries enlisted in the COVAX facility, which includes the Philippines.

The WHO Director General also expressed concerns that the pandemic may last longer if there is no coordination in the vaccine distribution across the globe.

“Not only does this ‘me-first’ approach leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people at risk, it’s also self-defeating. Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering,” he said. AAC (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

WHO, may emergency meeting kaugnay ng bagong COVID-19 variants

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nagsagawa ng emergency meeting ang World Health Organization (WHO) upang talakayin ang banta ng kumakalat ngayong mga bagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ang mga napaulat na bagong variant ng COVID-19 ay sinasabing mas nakakahawa.

Ang unang nadiskubreng coronavirus mutation sa United Kingdom ay kumalat na sa 50 teritoryo habang ang South African variant naman ay natagpuan na umano sa 20 bansa. Ang ikatlong variant naman na nagmula umano sa Brazilian Amazon at nadisubre sa Japan ay kasalukuyan pang pinag-aaralan ng WHO.

Ang pagkalat ng bagong variant ng COVID-19 ay nagbunsod sa maraming bansa na magpatupad ng mas mahigpit pang quarantine restrictions.

Tuwing tatlong buwan nagpupulong ang Emergency Committee ng WHO upang talakayin ang sitwasyon kaugnay ng COVID-19 pandemic ngunit minabuti ng mga miyembro nito na magkita-kita sa lalong madaling panahon upang pag-usapan ang coronavirus mutations.

Ito na ang ika-anim na pulong ng WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee mula noong Enero 2020.

Cancer drug scrapped from WHO solidarity trial for COVID-19 treatments

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed the cancer drug, Acalabrutinib, from its solidarity trial for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire did not disclose the reason for the removal and clarified that it was not administered to any patient in the country for COVID-19 treatment.

“Dumating iyong Acalabrutinib dito actually kaya lang biglang nag-stop na na nga iyong sinabi ng WHO na hindi na natin isasali so itong Acalabrutinib ay gagawan ng disposal mechanism (Acalabrutinib arrived in the country but WHO already announced its removal. So we will have a disposal mechanism for Acalabrutinib),” she said.

Meanwwhile, the DOH is closely coordinating with the WHO for the solidarity trials for COVID-19 vaccines. Vergeire said the trials are expected to begin in January 2021.

“There is this target date that they are seeing, it might be in January 3rd or 4th week of January; still to be finalized as I’ve said. We still need to meet with the WHO at the headquarters in Geneva,” she said. —AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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