22 April 2021

• The New York Times publishes an editorial written by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, which describes the pandemic as an “inferno”, saying “If you hose only one part of it, the rest will keep burning.” He noted that the ACT-Accelerator has $19 billion less than what it needs for diagnostics, treatments – including oxygen- and vaccines, and that COVAX’s efforts to equitably distribute coronavirus vaccines have been undermined by vaccine nationalism and vaccine diplomacy. complicated by vaccine hesitancy driven by very rare side effects and – where vaccines are available, weakened by vaccine euphoria.  Dr. Ghebreyesus suggested measures such as  voluntary licensing and technology transfer and waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-10 products to improve access to urgently needed diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, saying, “If this is not a time to take those actions, it’s hard to fathom when that would be.” Source

• India reports a record-breaking daily total of 314,835 coronavirus infections, reaching nearly 16 million cases. Source

• Politico reports that the European Commission is planning to  launch a lawsuit against AstraZeneca because it delivered tens of millions of doses less than it promised; a majority of EU countries support legal action. Source

• The NIH announces that it has added SAB-185, a polyclonal antibody, to the ACTIV-2. It will be studied in non-hospitalized people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at risk for disease progression. The 110-person phase II/III trial will compare SAB-185  to placebo. Source

Nature publishes a report on long-term symptoms, medications, use of healthcare and death among 73,435 Veteran Health Administration (VHA) service users who survived COVID-19 without being hospitalized –  and 4,990,835 VHA users who did not have COVID-19 and were not hospitalized during the same period. Data from people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and seasonal flu were also analyzed. The group, who were mostly male, were followed for 81 to 205 days. After the first 30 days of their illness, COVID-19 survivors had an increased risk of death Beyond the first 30 days of illness, COVID-19 survivors had increased risk of death, acute pulmonary embolisms, infections, joint pain and mental health, metabolic, neurocognitive and nervous system disorders as well as respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and other conditions compared with people who did not have COVID-19. The authors noted that this “…. highlights the need for a holistic and integrated multidisciplinary long-term care of COVID-19 survivors.” Source

• The European Union announces that it will not order an extra 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine as foreseen in its contract. Source

• Valneva’s VLA2001, a chemically inactivated coronavirus vaccine with an adjuvant from Dynavax, has entered a 4,000-person phase III trial in the UK, where it will be compared to the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. Source

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