WHO concludes global research and innovation forum on novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   February 13, 2020   •   1055

The Global Research and Innovation Forum held by the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak concluded on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

The two-day forum attracted scientists and representatives of health institutions from around the world to attend or participate in remote discussion.

“We also identified transmission and epidemiology as an important priority to be studied fairly quickly, because we really need to understand this virus, of course, where it originated and how it jumped to humans, but also about its transmissibility, the age groups that affects, what are the underline conditions or the environmental conditions that sometimes makes this disease more severe in some people as opposed to others,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the WHO.

Chinese scientists who are on the front lines of the fight against the epidemic joined the forum via remote links to share their research findings on and treatment experiences of the virus, promoting a consensus among scientists of all countries for cooperation, the WHO said.

“The Chinese scientists and researchers participate in this meeting because they have the hands-on experience of what is happening. Most of the working groups have Chinese scientists as part of the groups, so I think the outcomes of the meeting were very much influenced by the contribution of the Chinese scientists,” said Swaminathan. (Reuters)

No COVID-19 cases recorded among evacuees – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said it has not yet recorded a single case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among individuals temporarily staying in evacuation centers in areas ravaged by recent typhoons.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the information was based on data of DOH’s Health Emergency Management Bureau.

“As of this moment, sa pakikipag-ugnayan ng ahensya ng DOH, wala pa po sa mga evacuees natin ang nagpositibo sa COVID 19,” Vergeire said.

In the latest situation report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, a total of 55,921 families are staying in evacuation centers in Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V, the National Capital Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The DOH said they have been conducting COVID-19 testing using antigen test kits but those exhibiting symptoms of the viral respiratory disease will be given priority.

Vergeire said this is in accordance of protocols and recommendations issued by the Health Technology Assessment Council and the World Health Organization.

“So ibig sabihin, kung ang isang pasyente ay may sintomas, mas accurate ang magiging resulta niya within the first five days because of that high viral load. So, dito po sa ating mga evacuation centers, ang atin po ipa-prioritize sa paggamit ng antigen test would be those with symptoms,” she said.

“So, kapag na-extract na po sila ng safety officers natin, iti-test sila for this antigen. Sila po ay i-isolate din of course, because they are symptomatic,” she added.

The DOH also reiterated its reminder to local government units to ensure that health safety protocols are strictly observed in evacuation centers, and to put the elderly and other persons vulnerable to COVID-19 in separate quarters.

The agency also deployed teams to evacuation sites to conduct disease surveillance, sanitation, and hygiene promotion.

“Lumapit po kayo sa mga nakatalagang safety and health officers sa evacuation center kung kayo po ay nakakaramdam na ng mga sintomas para mabigyan kayo ng karampatang lunas at gamot,” Vergeire said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marvin Calas)

DOH still seeking evidence on animal-to-human COVID-19 transmission

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is still looking for evidence that could back up a claim of an animal to human transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This, following reports that Denmark has imposed strict measures after issuing a warning that a mutation of the virus had jumped from minks to humans and infected 12 people.

The DOH said it doesn’t have sufficient proof in the studies by health experts in other countries if such transmission could occur.

“Lahat po iyan ay sinusuri natin, humahanap po tayo ng sapat na ebidensya, para kung makikita natin na talagang may direct link at makakapagbigay ang mga eksperto natin ng kanilang mga rekomendasyon, atin pong ilalagay sa ating protocol, pero sa ngayon pinag aaralan pa rin po natin iyan,” said DOH spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said that it is possible that the virus could evolve or mutate in animals such as minks.

The WHO added that mink farms must have biosecurity so that humans will not have contact with minks.

“Mammal species like mink are very good hosts in a sense and the virus can evolve in those species, especially if there are large numbers packed closely together,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

“So in that sense we have to look at the viral evolution. We have to create biosecurity around farms like that, so that there’s not that contact back with human populations,” Ryan added.

The DOH also said that although there is still no clear evidence of the said mutation, the public must remain vigilant and responsible until the pandemic has been addressed.

“Iyon pa rin po ang ating iaadvise. Kung sakaling may sapat na ebidensya nga iyang sa hayop mapupunta sa tao, iyon pa rin po yung ating minimum health standards. Palagian pa rin po tayong naka-mask. Lagi pa rin maghuhugas ng kamay.  Iyan naman po ay mga gold standard natin para ma-prevent po natin ang infection,” Vergeire said. —/mbmf

WHO solidarity trial in PH to begin in December—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The solidarity trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines and other countries will begin in December.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 150 to 200 will participate in the trial in 12 sites in the country.

Sa November kasi parang maguumpisa sa isang site and mag-follow na po iyong iba’t ibang clinical trials in the other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020 (The trial will begin in November in one site and it will be followed by other clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020), she said.

The Health Department also announced Interferon will no longer be a part of WHO’s solidarity trial. Vergeire reported the said drug did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

Iyong gamot hindi na-reach objective (The medicine did not reach its objective),” she said.

The WHO has previously discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment after seeing no signs of effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the WHO added two drugs for the therapeutics solidarity trial, which include Acalabrutinib that is used for the chemotherapeutic regimen of patients. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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