• This global round-up brings you health stories from the past fortnight.
  • Top health news: US invests $5 billion in new coronavirus vaccine; China records world’s first human death from bird flu; WHO says one in six people worldwide is infertile.

1. The United States has invested $5 billion to develop a new coronavirus vaccine

The US government is spending more than $5 billion to develop new COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. ‘Project NextGen’ aims to provide better protection against coronaviruses, one of which causes COVID-19, which may become a future threat.

“While our vaccines are still very effective at preventing serious illness and death, they are less able to reduce infection and transmission over time,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “New forms and waning immunity over time may challenge our health care system in the coming years.”

President Joe Biden’s administration will spend at least $5 billion in private sector collaborations.

The project will focus on developing long-lasting monoclonal antibodies resistant to new COVID-19 variants as well as broad-spectrum vaccines that can protect against different coronaviruses. It seeks to accelerate the development of vaccines that induce mucosal immunity and can be administered through the nose, in the hope that they can dramatically reduce transmission and infection rates.

2. WHO considers adding obesity drugs to list of ‘essential’ drugs

Medicines that fight obesity are being considered for the first time for the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Essential Medicines List’. It is used to guide government procurement decisions in low- and middle-income countries.

More than 650 million adults worldwide are obese, three times the rate in 1975, and roughly 1.3 billion more are overweight, according to the WHO. Most obese and overweight people – 70% – live in low- and middle-income countries.

The graphic shows that 1 in 8 people worldwide are obese

More than 650 million adults worldwide are obese.

Image: WHO

The decision by the WHO to include obesity drugs in the list for adults will mark a new approach to obesity worldwide by the health organization.

“We believe it’s a work in progress,” said Francesco Branca, WHO director of nutrition, referring to the drug’s use as a treatment for obesity. He said there are still issues surrounding the cost of the drugs, as well as the fact that they have not been used for a long time, which may make inclusion on the list less likely. He said it would ultimately depend on the agency’s expert committee to review the evidence and make a decision.

The World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare works with governments and businesses to identify and scale up solutions for more resilient, efficient, and equitable healthcare systems.

  • The Forum actively supports global vaccine distribution, contributing to COVAX delivering over 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines and launching Gavi, the vaccine alliance, helping to save over 13 million lives over 20 years.
  • Through the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative, the Forum is helping to accelerate progress in the discovery, testing and delivery of interventions for Alzheimer’s.
  • In partnership with Deloitte, the Forum developed a toolkit to support policymakers in developing successful policies on technology for mental health.
  • Through the Covid Action Platform, the Forum and its partners have provided solutions to navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic, launching more than 40 initiatives to protect lives and livelihoods and keep workers well.
  • The Forum’s Global Coalition for Value in Healthcare is working to create a more sustainable and equitable healthcare industry, launching its first value-based healthcare innovation hub to eliminate wasteful spending on health worldwide.
  • The UHC2030 Private Sector Constituency, hosted by the Forum, released a statement highlighting the role the private sector can play in achieving universal health coverage.

Contact us for more information on how to get involved.

3. News Brief: More health stories from around the world

The World Health Organization has confirmed that a Chinese woman has become the first person to die from bird flu, which is rare in humans. He was one of three people in Guangdong province known to have contracted the H3N8 subtype of avian influenza, which is not believed to be transmitted to humans.

The US National Institute on Aging is funding a six-year, up to $300 million project to build a massive Alzheimer’s research database. It will be able to track the health of Americans over decades and give researchers new insights into brain-destroying diseases.

A ‘Mediterranean’ diet, rich in olive oil, seafood, whole grains and vegetables, has been shown to reduce the risk of serious illness in people at risk of cardiovascular disease, reports guardian. It is based on research that eating a ‘Japanese’ diet, can also provide various health benefits.

Dengue fever has hit Sudan’s capital for the first time on record, as the country grapples with its most widespread outbreak of the disease. Although dengue fever is endemic in Sudan, outbreaks have previously been concentrated in peripheral provinces and have not spread throughout the country.

Researchers in the United States have reported that they are the first two confirmed cases in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus crossed the mother’s placenta and caused brain damage in the babies she carried. The babies were born to young mothers who tested positive for the virus in their second trimester before the vaccine became widely available, University of Miami scientists said.

An increased risk of dementia has been linked to exposure to air pollution, even at levels below air quality standards, reports guardian. Experts say the findings demonstrate that more needs to be done to tackle poor air quality globally.

According to a new report by the World Health Organization, one in six people worldwide suffers from infertility. It says millions of people face “catastrophic” healthcare costs as affordable treatment is often unavailable.

UK scientists are researching how honey could help find alternatives to antimicrobial drugs, report BBC news. Increasing levels of antibiotic resistance are seen as a major threat to human health worldwide.

New research shows that poor sleep quality increases the risk of stroke, reports CNN. Data from more than 4,500 stroke patients found that those who slept an average of less than five hours a day were three times more likely to have a stroke.

Up to one million smokers in the UK will be encouraged to swap cigarettes for vaping kits and other support to help them quit. Pregnant women will also be given financial incentives to switch, in what the British government says will be a world first.

4. More on health from the agenda

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading the charge to improve African health outcomes through a vision of a new public health order for the continent. Its director ad interim, Ahmed Ogwell Oma, said the agency will champion initiatives and investments in key areas of health policy and practice.

AI automation and augmentation and a range of other smart technologies are revolutionizing health and healthcare delivery. But more than a third of the global population lives without internet access, which remains a challenge for smart healthcare solutions.

Employers are increasingly investing in efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. However, research shows that these efforts often fail to address the underlying biases that often lead to disparities in medicine, a professor said.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *