WHO extremely concerned about Ebola ‘perfect storm’ in Congo

admin   •   September 26, 2018   •   2444


FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015. REUTERS/PIERRE ALBOUY

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday (September 25) that the Ebola outbreak in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo could deteriorate rapidly because of attacks by armed groups, community resistance and the geographic spread of the disease.

“We are now extremely concerned that several factors may be coming together over the next weeks and months to create a potential perfect storm,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama told a news conference in Geneva.

At least 100 people have died in the outbreak, out of 150 cases in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

The response was at a critical juncture, and although the weekly number of new cases has fallen from about 40 to about 10 in the past few weeks and more than 11,700 people have been vaccinated, there were major obstacles ahead, Salama said.

Attacks by armed opposition groups had increased in severity and frequency, especially attributed to the Alliance of Democratic Forces, most dramatically an attack that killed 21 in the city of Beni, where WHO’s operation is based.

The city has declared a “Ville Morte”, a period of mourning until at least Friday (September 28), obliging WHO to suspend its operations.

On Monday (September 24), 80 percent of Ebola contacts and three suspected cases in and around Beni could not be reached for disease monitoring.

Pockets of “reluctance, refusal, and resistance” to accept Ebola vaccination were generating many of the new cases, Salama said. — 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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