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Weekly Roundups

Global Decrease of COVID-19 New Cases and Deaths

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 08/27/2020 - 14:19

WHO has reported a global decrease in new COVID-19 cases and deaths associated to the virus. This great news is encouraging in the face of a new normality. It seems like a COVID-19-free reality is coming our way. Still, sanitary measures are required to keep improving.

Here is the week in health!

NATIONAL

-A study posted by the National Institute of Public Health showed that the consumption of sodas and other sugary drinks is associated to the deaths of 40,842 people in Mexico. Around 37,000 of these people suffered from diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or a type of cancer associated to obesity. Moreover, a study made by the International Journal of Obesity states that the main cause for the cardiometabolic epidemic in Mexico is associated to the consumption of these drinks. As a response to this finding, researchers propose a 40 percent increase in the Mexican IEPS on these products.

-The Ministry of Heath, alongside CONACYT, created the National Committee for Science, Technology and Innovation in Vaccine Development, which intends to reactivate Biologicals and Reagents of Mexico (BIRMEX). This decision derived from the government’s agreement with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford regarding the COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution, while taking advantage of this opportunity to boost Mexico’s R&D on other vaccines that respond to other healthcare needs in the country.

-Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell announced the members of the Immunization Technical Advisory Group, which will be in charge of creating the vaccination schedule for the COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready to distribute. Among the list of names, he mentioned Alejandro Cravioto, President of WHO’s Strategic Advisory Committee on Immunizations; José Ignacio Santos, Secretary of the General Health Council and María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, Director of CONACYT.

-Mexico will support Latin America and the Caribbean with a donation of ventilators manufactured in Mexico, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard. To complement this donation, the Ministry will support fellow countries with technical training and installation once the devices have been approved by their regulatory agencies. During the announcement, Minister Ebrard said “(Support) has to be universal and equitable. We have to be solidary; we are one people, one community."

INTERNATIONAL

-Hong Kong announced the first case of COVID-19 reinfection in a man that got the virus initially in March and that got infected again four months later with no symptoms.

-The FDA has approved convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19. However, the decision has caused mixed opinions saying that the data cited to make this choice was taken out of context from the original study and that there is information still missing to further support this treatment. On the subject, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn declared that “the data from studies conducted this year shows that plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 has the potential to help treat those who are suffering from the effects of getting this terrible virus.”

-The EU has signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to secure a 300 million dose supply of their COVID-19 vaccine development.

-WHO officially declared Africa “polio-free” after four years with no new cases of the virial disease. Poliomyelitis can cause paralysis and mainly affects children under the age of five. It can be passed on from one person to another through contact with infected feces or, less frequently, through contaminated water or food. It enters the body through the mouth and multiplies inside the intestines. While there is still no vaccine to cure it, there are oral vaccines to prevent it and protect children.

-Research from the Global Cancer Observatory estimates that leukemia incidences will increase by 27 percent by 2040. The figures projected in 2018 initially indicated 311,797 will suffer from this disease. However, two years later, the number predicted based on the actual tendencies is of 392,044 patients.

-Phase II of a clinical trial for an oncological drug called PHranceSCa showed an 85 percent effectiveness on patients suffering from breast cancer HER2. The treatment, which is applied subcutaneously over intravenous administration, has represented less discomfort and considerably reduced the length of hospital stays.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst