Remarks by @DrTedros just now at member states session make it clear that #covid19 origins mission is set for a bit of a reboot.…
@DrTedros Tedros announced the establishment of a permanent International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), because “...the world needs a more stable and predictable framework for studying the origins of new pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential."
@DrTedros “SAGO will play a vital role in the next phase of studies into the origins of #SARSCoV2, as well as the origins of future new pathogens”, says @drtedros.
An open call for nominations to SAGO to be launched soon.
@DrTedros Tedros outlined five areas for future study into the origins of #covid19, crucially including as the fifth:
“audits of relevant laboratories and research institutions operating in the area of the initial human cases identified in December 2019”
@DrTedros The framework for the origins mission always envisioned a two-stage process.
It basically looks like the original mission will now end after stage 1 and a new group (larger? with more varied expertise?) will push forward from here…
@DrTedros Of course, the problems remain the same:
How to do good science in the face of politicisation around the origins question
How to get access to relevant data/samples
Plus all the usual troubles of finding what could be a very small needle in a very large haystack
@DrTedros Only power @WHO has in all this are words:
"we expect China to support this next phase of the scientific process by sharing all relevant data in a spirit of transparency. Equally, we expect all Member States to support the scientific process by refraining from politicising it”
@DrTedros @WHO My take on all this:
Establishing a permanent group like SAGO is a smart move. Like so many other things established in this pandemic it may not work all that well now (we'll see), but it puts in place a mechanism for next time...

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More from @kakape

2 Jul
“On an almost day-to-day basis we are now seeing the impact of the climate crisis.
Record breaking scorching heatwaves, catastrophic storms and changing weather patterns are impacting food systems, disease dispersion and societies at large”, says @DrTedros at @WHO press briefing.
@DrTedros @WHO "The time for lofty words is over”, says @drtedros. “There needs to be concerted action, backed by financial resources to mitigate the consequences of climate change, while we work to keep temperatures down and scale green innovations."
@DrTedros @WHO "We are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic”, says @DrTedros.
"In those countries with low vaccination coverage, terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm. But no country on Earth is out of the woods yet. "
Read 9 tweets
25 Jun
“Globally there is currently a lot of concern about the #deltavariant, and @WHO is concerned about it too”, says @DrTedros at #covid19 presser.
“Delta is the most transmissible of the variants identified so far... and is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated populations."
@WHO @DrTedros “New variants are expected and will continue to be reported. That’s what viruses do: they evolve”, says @drtedros
“But we can prevent the emergence of variants by preventing transmission.
It’s quite simple:
More transmission, more variants.
Less transmission, less variants."
@WHO @DrTedros "This is why WHO has been saying for at least a year that vaccines must be distributed equitably, to protect health workers and the most vulnerable”, says @DrTedros.
Read 12 tweets
24 Jun
When I talked to @doctorsoumya for my recent story she was most concerned about the impact #deltavariant might have on African continent. “You could end up with explosive outbreaks”, she told me. Other researchers said the same.
So a quick thread on #covid19 situation in Africa:
@doctorsoumya While reported #SARSCoV2 infections and deaths from have been declining globally, Africa has been going in the other direction for several weeks now with surges in several countries like Uganda and the DRC.
@doctorsoumya As the most recent @WHO sitrep notes:
"The African Region reported over 132 000 new cases and over 1900 new deaths, a 39% and a 38% increase respectively compared to the previous week, the highest percentage increase reported globally”
Read 9 tweets
23 Jun
If you haven‘t noticed: After a lot of reporting on vaccine side effects and vaccine equity and a brief break, I‘m back on variant watch.
So let‘s start with a catch-up thread on all things #deltavariant and new story with @meredithwadman is here:…
@meredithwadman The delta variant was first isolated in the Indian state of Maharashtra in December but really only got attention when it started to take off a couple of months later and when it rapidly spread in the UK.
So as usual: It’s early days and many things are still uncertain.
@meredithwadman This from @PHE_uk last week is still a great overview of where we are on the #DeltaVariant:…
Read 10 tweets
23 Jun
For the record:
Today, @ECDC_EU is saying loud and clear to European governments that they need to keep in place enough restrictions to keep #sarscov2 from circulating. Otherwise hospitalizations and deaths are likely to surge again soon.
„given the expected future predominance of the Delta variant, the risk has increased … . Without continued application of NPI measures and further rapid rollout of full vaccination, sharp increases in new infections, hospitalisations and deaths may be observed“
Measures „should be maintained at a level sufficient to contain community transmission of the Delta VOC until greater shares of the population are fully vaccinated, in order to avoid a resurgence of cases with a possible increase in hospitalisations and mortality.“
Read 4 tweets
23 Jun
„we estimate that by the end of August [the delta vatiant] will represent 90% of all SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the European Union“, says @ECDC_EU director Andrea Ammon.
„very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer, particularly among younger individuals that are not targeted for vaccination.“ Increases risk for vulnerable people to be infected, get severely sick or even die if they are not fully vaccinated.
„Until most of the vulnerable individuals are protected, we need to keep the circulation of the Delta virus low by strictly adhering to public health measures, which worked for controlling the impact of other variants.“
Read 5 tweets

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