Mon. Mar 30th, 2020

More money so that COVID-19 does not reach Africa

WHO asks the international community for more support for its 675 million containment plan and “to take it very seriously”

The international community is not taking COVID-19 too seriously even though it already exceeds the number of victims of all the great millennium epidemics: SARS, MERS, Influenza A and Ebola. The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, lamented yesterday at a press conference that the response plan orchestrated by the agency he directs does not have enough support: «Given the urgency and that we are fighting against a very dangerous enemy, we are surprised that the response was not as expected, so we ask the international community to take it very seriously ».

WHO calculated the budget needed to cope with Covid-19 at 675 million – which has already infected 74,675 people and caused the death of 2,121, according to the latest balance sheet – with a priority objective: to contain its progress in countries with a deficit health systems. Above all, in Africa. “We are coordinating efforts with the epidemiological control centers of the African Union, because that is where we believe the virus could be a serious danger,” said the director of the WHO. One of the priority countries is the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to the large flow of travelers with China, which also has direct flights. However, WHO is confident that the experience that the country has acquired to contain the latest Ebola outbreak will provide them with the necessary tools to deal with this new coronavirus. Congo health authorities say they are prepared for the arrival of COVID-19. At the airport in Kinshasa, simulations have already been made to know how to respond to a suspicious case and remember that at the airport they already checked people who were leaving the country in case they were infected with Ebola, which is making it easier for them to detect cases of coronavirus :. “Now what we have to do is not only control those who leave the country, or those who travel from North Kivu – stage of the Ebola outbreak – to other provinces, but also to the people who enter,” says Dr. Aaron Aruna , director of the fight against diseases of the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Two clinical trials

In his appearance, Tedros A. Ghebreyesus also announced that the WHO expects in about three weeks the results of the clinical trials of two treatments to patients of COVID-19 that Chinese research centers carry out, and to which the organization has given priority over other studies. One of them combines the lopinavir and ritonavir antiretrovirals, commonly used for patients with HIV, and the second analyzes the effect in patients of the antiviral remdisivir, tested in patients with Ebola.

Tedros also revealed that the WHO team that since last week works in China to investigate the origin of the disease is made up of experts from research centers based in Russia, the United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea , Nigeria and Germany. And a Health Security Council will be held weekly in which he and the regional directors of the organization will meet to review the evolution of the epidemic and coordinate a response.


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