"The number of weekly reported deaths from #covid19 continues to decline and is now at the lowest level in almost a year”, says @DrTedros at @WHO presser.
"But it’s still an unacceptably high level: almost 50,000 deaths a week, and the real number is certainly higher."
@DrTedros @WHO "Deaths are declining in every region except Europe, where several countries are facing fresh waves of cases and deaths”, says @drtedros.
@DrTedros @WHO “Of course, deaths are highest in the countries and populations with the least access to #covid19 vaccines”, says @DrTedros.
"We ask once again for the countries and companies that control the global supply of #covid19 vaccines to prioritize supply to COVAX and to AVAT now"
@DrTedros @WHO Some countries are constrained by capacity, especially countries affected by fragility or violence, @DrTedros says.
"With aggressive and ambitious action, most of these countries can still reach the 40% target by the end of this year, or be on a clear pathway to reaching it"
@DrTedros @WHO "But it takes global cooperation”, says @drtedros. "Countries that continue to roll out boosters now are effectively preventing other countries from vaccinating their most at-risk populations. Supply is finite. In the end, this is a zero-sum game"
@DrTedros @WHO Now on to SAGO:
“There will now be a two-week public consultation period for WHO to receive feedback on the proposed SAGO members, following which the composition of SAGO will be confirmed and the group will have its first meeting”, says @drtedros.

@DrTedros @WHO “The emergence of new viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics is a fact of nature, and while #SARSCoV2 is the latest such virus, it will not be the last”, says @DrTedros
@DrTedros @WHO Q: SAGO includes members from all permanent UN security council members. Does that reflect sensitivity of the mandate?
No, says @DrMikeRyan.
“We certainly need strong nations with scientific power to be part of the process, but it's their scientists we need not the politicians."
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan “What we need this group to do, is urgently assess where we are in what we know and what we don't know and what urgently needs to be done”, says @mvankerkhove.
“There’s no time to waste."
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove "Following the last mission to China, there were more than three dozen recommended studies that needed to be carried out”, says @mvankerkhove.
"We hope to get an update on those studies as well, so that we can say okay, here's what's next."
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove Here’s a first piece on the SAGO announcement:

@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove @ScienceMagazine "I anticipate that SAGO in its discussions about the urgent next steps for understanding the origins of the current pandemic will recommend further studies in China and potentially elsewhere”, says @mvankerkhove.
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove @ScienceMagazine “It's exceptionally important … that we're able to go back and try and understand the dynamics of how that virus breached the animal-human species barrier, to understand how that virus entered the human system, given the impact it has had”, says @DrMikeRyan.
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove @ScienceMagazine "This has never been an easy process”, says @DrMikeRyan. "What we're trying to do ... is to take a step back, create an environment where we can again look at the scientific issues, the scientific state of the art of knowledge."
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove @ScienceMagazine This is “a human endeavor to understand a virus that has stopped our whole world”, says @DrMikeRyan.
"I would ask everyone countries, journalists, and everybody else to create a little space for that discussion to happen, because this is probably right now our best chance."
@DrTedros @WHO @DrMikeRyan @mvankerkhove @ScienceMagazine “All of the scientists joining this process understand those external pressures and the scrutiny, and the visibility of the process”, says @DrMikeRyan.
We "want to be in a position where the scientists can operate without pressure in order to be able to do their jobs."

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More from @kakape

13 Oct
So today, @WHO unveiled a new team of scientists from around the world that will guide the search for the origins of #covid19 but also work on future outbreaks and more generally on emerging pathogens.

Story here (and short thread to come):
@WHO Who are they?

"This is an incredibly impressive group of experts”, @alexandraphelan told me: 26 researchers from 26 countries.

And @angie_rasmussen told me: "I’m pleased to see a list with such strong representation of the global south”

List is here: who.int/news-room/arti…
@WHO @alexandraphelan @angie_rasmussen The list includes seven researchers that were involved in the first WHO origins mission.

That might be criticised by some, @angie_rasmussen told me. But: "I think it is important for continuity and to assert that the first mission wasn’t a total wash"
Read 15 tweets
11 Oct
WHO’s expert group on immunization (SAGE) met last week to review evidence and is now recommending an additional #covid19 vaccine dose for two groups of people:
1. Anyone who is moderately or severely immunocompromised no matter which vaccine they received
2. Anyone 60 or over who received two doses of the inactivated vaccines from Sinopharm or Sinovac. (The evidence this is based on comes mostly from Latin American countries, where these have been used widely)
In both cases @WHO considers the additional dose to be part of the primary immunization series, so separate from the discussion about booster shots to shore up waning immunity.
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
“The development and approval of vaccines in record time took us to the summit of scientific achievement”, says @DrTedros in #covid19 presser.
“Now, we stand on the precipice of failure. If we don't make the benefits of science available to all people in all countries right now."
@DrTedros “High and upper middle income countries have used 75% of all vaccines produced so far, low income countries have received less than half of 1% of the world's vaccines”, says @DrTedros calling it a “horrifying inequity".
“In Africa, less than 5% of people are fully vaccinated."
@DrTedros "Today, WHO is launching the strategy to achieve global #COVID19 vaccination by mid-2022”, says @drtedros. Goal is 40% coverage in all countries by the end of this year, 70% by middle of next year.
"This is not a supply problem. It is an allocation problem"
Read 14 tweets
16 Sep
A new preprint by @PeterDaszak, @nycbat and others attempts to show where the next coronavirus pandemic is most likely to begin and argues that there may be 400,000 hidden infections with SARSr-CoVs every year.

Story is here (thread to come):
@PeterDaszak @nycbat First of all:
Yes, that is a really big number. And yes there is HUGE uncertainty in that.
The confidence interval goes all the way down to a single case and all the way up to more than 35 million!
We’ll get to that.
But let’s take a quick look at what the researchers did.
@PeterDaszak @nycbat They created a detailed map of the habitats of 23 bat species known to harbor SARSr-CoVs, then overlaid it with data on where humans live to create a map showing where the risk of spillover is highest: southern China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and on Java and other islands in Indonesia
Read 19 tweets
14 Sep
Only 2 African countries have vaccinated more than 40% of their population, says @DrTedros at #Covid19 presser.
“That's not because African countries don't have the capacity or the experience to roll out vaccines. It's because they have been left behind by the rest of the world."
@DrTedros “More than 5.7 billion doses have been administered globally, but only 2% of those have been administered in Africa”, says @drtedros
"This leaves people at high risk of disease and death exposed to a deadly virus against which many other people around the world enjoy protection."
@DrTedros "This does not only hurt the people of Africa. It hurts all of us”, says @drtedros.
"The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue."
Read 27 tweets
12 Sep
Last week I met Jeremy Farrar in Berlin and since then I’ve kept going over some of what he said, since it seems pretty crucial for the next phase of the pandemic in Europe. So a quick thread
(You can also hear him say some of this in our new @pandemiapodcast episode)
@pandemiapodcast At least in Europe, "what you're witnessing, I think at the moment is the shift from epidemic/pandemic state into an endemic state”, Farrar said.
“And none of us are really quite sure what that endemic state is going to look like.”
@pandemiapodcast The argument is simple: #SARSCoV2 is clearly not going away any time soon. As vaccines blunt some of the impact of the virus at the societal level, #covid19 may still be terrible and still cause disease and death but maybe at a level society can or will or has to accept.
Read 15 tweets

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