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Weekly Roundups

Gilead’s Remdesivir the Most Effective Against COVID-19

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 04/30/2020 - 16:30

This week, the White House has announced that trials on Remdesivir drug modestly helped positive cases of COVID-19 to recover. As weeks go by, the sky starts to clear on the pandemic situation. While Mexico is still to reach its peak of contagion, advances in other countries bring hope for a calmer future.

Before jumping into the news, here are some tips for mental health sanity during quarantine.

NATIONAL

Mexico announces the initiative “Together for Health” to support medical staff with safety supplies, lodging and transportation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs reported that this was a public and private initiative that had raised MX$900 million (US$37.2 million) which would be used to distribute protection kits to medical staff. Additionally, UNAM’s Director of the School of Health Sciences, German Fajardo called on citizens to respect and protect medical staff.

The US government sent Mexico a letter urging for the reopening of several industrial operations to avoid disruption on supply chains between the two countries. Marcelo Ebrard, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the priority for Mexico is the health of its citizens and that the country will continue encouraging safety measures to ensure the lowest contagion rates possible. “Mexico will follow its own calendar,” he stated.

President López Obrador ensured that Mexico has flattened the curve of contagion of COVID-19 and also said that hospitals have not exceeded the capacity. Healthcare specialists at the daily COVID-19 outbreak conference say that in Mexico City, hospitals are at 50 percent of their capacity and that it is expected that the curve, which has not flattened, will continue to ascend. Many hospitals in the capital have declared to be at full capacity regarding COVID-19 patients.

The bioethics guidelines released by the General Health Council a couple weeks ago are expected to be approved soon. Here is an in-depth explanation of the guidelines.

The head of the General Direction of Health Promotion presented the guidelines regarding protection for people with disabilities in the COVID-19 context. In it, there is a list of things to do and where to go in case of contagion.

INTERNATIONAL

Clinical trials on existent drugs in the market began all over the world in March. This week, results on the use of Remdesivir showed improvement on patients with COVID-19. According to Anthony Faucci, COVID-19 Advisor for President Trump, there has been a faster recovery of patients, suggesting that the drug should become a standard treatment against SARS-CoV-2. The National Institute of Health published that Remdesivir accelerated recovery time by 31 percent.

Vaccines trials are also racing toward a cure. CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc. are the two most advanced in the process. This week, they were joined by Oxford University as it announced that with AstraZeneca, they were starting human trials on a vaccine against COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the outbreak there have been many speculations about the virus being man-made and other conspiracy theories. The US’ intelligence services confirmed that this epidemic was not man-made nor genetically modified. Authorities are still investigating if this pandemic was the result of a laboratory accident in China.

The New York Times posted a study on the genomic mutation of SARS-CoV-2 showing its development from its first detection in China to its spread across different countries. The study says that mutations can increase the virus’ mortality and spread rate.

Horrifying pictures of jails in El Salvador have been shared by President Nayib Bukele, who, amid a global pandemic, proudly shared pictures of prisoners being jammed together in unhealthy spaces and conditions. Preventive healthcare measures and social distancing are nonexistent in those conditions. Human rights specialists fear that these actions are purposely done to expose the prisoners to COVID-19.

South Korea infection numbers have slowed down this week. The country is now considered a success story in terms of crisis management as it was one of the biggest hotspots for the virus. Here is their story.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst