The #moment to see the #poor (Science, summary)

[Source: Science, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

The moment to see the poor

Joachim von Braun1⇑, Stefano Zamagni2⇑, Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo3⇑

1 Joachim von Braun is president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, and is Professor for Economic and Technological Change, University of Bonn Center for Development Research, Bonn, Germany. 2 Stefano Zamagni is president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Vatican City; professor of Economics at the Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies, Bologna; and professor of Political Economics, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy. 3 Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo is Bishop Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of Social Science, Vatican City. – –

Science  17 Apr 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6488, pp. 214 | DOI: 10.1126/science.abc2255


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has illuminated inequities that have put poor people—in both low-income nations and in rich countries—at the greatest risk of suffering. Pope Francis recently pointed to that in an interview: “This is the moment to see the poor.” Until science finds appropriate drugs and a vaccine to treat and prevent COVID-19, today’s paradox is that everybody needs to cooperate with others while simultaneously self-isolating as a protective measure. Yet, whereas social distancing is quite feasible for wealthy people, poor people crowded in urban slums or refugee camps do not have that option and lack face masks and hand-washing facilities. To address the risks in large, crowded cities in developing countries, we must support prevention by testing, providing access to protective equipment, and launching a big effort to build provisionary hospitals to isolate infected people.


Keywords: COVID-19; Poverty; Society.


Ensuring #global #access to #COVID19 #vaccines (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Ensuring global access to COVID-19 vaccines

Gavin Yamey, Marco Schäferhoff, Richard Hatchett, Muhammad Pate, Feng Zhao, Kaci Kennedy McDade

Published: March 31, 2020 | DOI:


The current response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic involves aggressive implementation of suppression strategies, such as case identification, quarantine and isolation, contact tracing, and social distancing. However, models developed by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team suggest that “transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed”.1 WHO warns of multiple simultaneous outbreaks of COVID-19 worldwide.2 The development of COVID-19 vaccines that can be used globally is therefore a priority for ending the pandemic.


Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Vaccines; International cooperation.


#Scientists are sprinting to outpace the novel #coronavirus (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Scientists are sprinting to outpace the novel coronavirus

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Soumya Swaminathan

Published: February 24, 2020 / DOI:


The number of people with novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has risen above 75 000 globally, over 99% of whom are in China, with more than 900 cases in 25 other countries as of Feb 20, 2020.1,  2 Science, however, is stepping up to the challenge. Consider the example of Africa’s efforts to scale up its capacity to detect any cases of infection. On Feb 3, 2020, the only African countries with laboratories that could test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were South Africa and Senegal. This scarce capacity was a major concern for a continent bracing for possible infections. Just a fortnight later, WHO had sent testing kits to 27 countries on the continent, which are already being used.3



TAG is the Director-General of WHO. SS is Chief Scientist at WHO. We declare no other competing interests.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Pandemic preparedness.


The Novel #Coronavirus Originating in #Wuhan, #China – #Challenges for #GlobalHealth #Governance (JAMA, summary)

[Source: Journal of American Medical Association, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Viewpoint / January 30, 2020

The Novel Coronavirus Originating in Wuhan, ChinaChallenges for Global Health Governance

Alexandra L. Phelan, SJD, LLM1,2; Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH1; Lawrence O. Gostin, JD2

Author Affiliations: 1 Center for Global Health Science and Security, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 2 O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

JAMA. Published online January 30, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1097


On December 31, 2019, China reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, caused by a novel coronavirus, currently designated 2019-nCoV. Mounting cases and deaths pose major public health and governance challenges. China’s imposition of an unprecedented cordon sanitaire (a guarded area preventing anyone from leaving) in Hubei Province has also sparked controversy concerning its implementation and effectiveness. Cases have now spread to at least 4 continents. As of January 28, there are more than 4500 confirmed cases (98% in China) and more than 100 deaths.1 In this Viewpoint, we describe the current status of 2019-nCoV, assess the response, and offer proposals for strategies to bring the outbreak under control.



Corresponding Author: Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (

Published Online: January 30, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1097

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Mr Gostin is the director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law. No other disclosures were reported.

Keywords: 2019-NCoV; China; International cooperation.


#Data #sharing and #outbreaks: best practice exemplified (Lancet, summary)

[Source: Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Data sharing and outbreaks: best practice exemplified

David L Heymann

Published: January 24, 2020 / DOI:


The current outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is yet another example of the importance of infections at the animal–human interface, and the concerns that arise from the emergence of a newly identified organism as it spreads through human populations and across national and international borders.


Keywords: 2019-nCoV.


#International #Funding for #Global Common #Goods for #Health: An Analysis Using the #Creditor Reporting System and G-FINDER Databases (Health Syst Reform, abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Health Syst Reform. 2019 Nov 11:1-16. doi: 10.1080/23288604.2019.1663646. [Epub ahead of print]

International Funding for Global Common Goods for Health: An Analysis Using the Creditor Reporting System and G-FINDER Databases.

Schäferhoff M1, Chodavadia P2, Martinez S1, McDade KK2, Fewer S3, Silva S4, Jamison D3, Yamey G2.

Author information: 1 Open Consultants, Berlin, Germany. 2 Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. 3 Institute for Global Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. 4 Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



West Africa’s Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016 exposed, among other problems, the under-funding of transnational global health activities known as global common goods for health (CGH), global functions such as pandemic preparedness and research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases. To mobilize sustainable funding for global CGH, it is critical first to understand existing financing flowing to different types of global CGH. In this study, we estimate trends in international spending for global CGH in 2013, 2015, and 2017, encompassing the era before and after the Ebola epidemic. We use a measure of international funding that combines official development assistance (ODA) for health with additional international spending on R&D for diseases of poverty, a measure called ODA+. We classify ODA+ into funding for three global functions-provision of global public goods, management of cross-border externalities, and fostering of global health leadership and stewardship-and country-specific aid. International funding for global functions increased between 2013 and 2015 by $1.4 billion to a total of $7.3 billion in 2015. It then declined to $7.0 billion in 2017, accounting for 24% of all ODA+ in 2017. These findings provide empirical evidence of the reactive nature of international funders for global CGH. While international funders increased funding for global functions in response to the Ebola outbreak, they failed to sustain that funding. To meet future global health challenges proactively, international funders should allocate more funding for global functions.

KEYWORDS: global common goods for health; global health funding

PMID: 31710516 DOI: 10.1080/23288604.2019.1663646

Keywords: Global Health; International cooperation.


The #human #imperative of stabilizing #global #climatechange at 1.5°C (Science, abstract)

[Source: Science, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

The human imperative of stabilizing global climate change at 1.5°C

O. Hoegh-Guldberg1,2,*, D. Jacob3, M. Taylor4, T. Guillén Bolaños3, M. Bindi5, S. Brown6,7, I. A. Camilloni8, A. Diedhiou9, R. Djalante10,11, K. Ebi12, F. Engelbrecht13, J. Guiot14, Y. Hijioka15, S. Mehrotra16, C. W. Hope17, A. J. Payne18, H.-O. Pörtner19, S. I. Seneviratne20, A. Thomas21,22, R. Warren23, G. Zhou24

1 Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. 2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. 3 Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Hamburg, Germany. 4 Department of Physics, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. 5 Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, 50144 Firenze, Italy. 6 Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton, Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Southampton SO16 7QF, UK. 7 Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK. 8 Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (UBA-CONICET), UMI-IFAECI/CNRS, and Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos (FCEN), University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 9 Université Grenoble Alpes, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), CNRS, Grenoble INP, IGE, F-38000 Grenoble, France. 10 United Nations University–Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Tokyo, Japan. 11 Halu Oleo University, Kendari, South East Sulawesi, Indonesia. 12 Center for Health and the Global Environment, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. 13 Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa. 14 Aix Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, INRA, Collège de France, CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France. 15 Center for Climate Change Adaptation, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan. 16 World Bank, Washington, DC, USA. 17 Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. 18 University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. 19 Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany. 20 Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. 21 Climate Analytics, 10961 Berlin, Germany. 22 Environmental and Life Sciences, University of the Bahamas, Nassau 76905, Bahamas. 23 Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK. 24 State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China.

*Corresponding author. Email:

Science  20 Sep 2019: Vol. 365, Issue 6459, eaaw6974 / DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw6974


The need to stabilize global climate

Climate change will be the greatest threat to humanity and global ecosystems in the coming years, and there is a pressing need to understand and communicate the impacts of warming, across the perspectives of the natural and social sciences. Hoegh-Guldberg et al. review the climate change–impact literature, expanding on the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They provide evidence of the impacts of warming at 1°, 1.5°, and 2°C—and higher—for the physical system, ecosystems, agriculture, and human livelihoods. The benefits of limiting climate change to no more than 1.5°C above preindustrial levels would outweigh the costs.

Science, this issue p. eaaw6974


Structured Abstract


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established in 1992 to pursue the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interferences with the climate system.” Since 1992, five major climate change assessment cycles have been completed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These reports identified rapidly growing climate-related impacts and risks, including more intense storms, collapsing ecosystems, and record heatwaves, among many others. Once thought to be tolerable, increases in global mean surface temperature (GMST) of 2.0°C or higher than the pre-industrial period look increasingly unmanageable and hence dangerous to natural and human systems.

The Paris Climate Agreement is the most recent attempt to establish international cooperation over climate change. This agreement, ratified or acceded to by 185 countries, was designed to bring nations together voluntarily to take ambitious action on mitigating climate change, while also developing adaptation options and strategies as well as guaranteeing the means of implementation (e.g., climate finance). The Agreement is aimed at “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” Many unanswered questions regarding a 1.5°C target surround the feasibility, costs, and inherent risks to natural and human systems. Consequently, countries invited the IPCC to prepare a Special Report on “the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.” The Special Report was completed and approved by the 48th Session of the IPCC in October 2018.


Multiple lines of evidence indicate that the next 0.5°C above today (which will take GMST from 1.0°C to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial period) will involve greater risks per unit temperature than those seen in the last 0.5°C increase. This principle of “accelerating risk” is also likely to drive proportionally and possibly exponentially higher risk levels in the transition from 1.5°C to 2.0°C above the pre-industrial period. We argue that this is a consequence of impacts accelerating as a function of distance from the optimal temperature for an organism or an ecosystem process. Coral reefs, for example, often appear healthy right up until the onset of mass coral bleaching and mortality, which can then destroy a reef within a few months. This also explains the observation of “tipping points” where the condition of a group of organisms or an ecosystem can appear “healthy” right up to the point of collapse, suggesting caution in extrapolating from measures of ecosystem condition to predict the future. Information of this nature needs to be combined with an appreciation of organisms’ distance from their optimal temperature.

Finally, we explore elements of the costs and benefits associated with acting in response to climate change, and come to the preliminary conclusion that restraining average global temperature to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial period would be much less costly than the damage due to inaction on global climate change.


As an IPCC expert group, we were asked to assess the impact of recent climate change (1.0°C, 2017) and the likely impact over the next 0.5° to 1.0°C of additional global warming. At the beginning of this exercise, many of us were concerned that the task would be hindered by a lack of expert literature available for 1.5°C and 2.0°C warmer worlds. Although this was the case at the time of the Paris Agreement, it has not been our experience 4 years later. With an accelerating amount of peer-reviewed scientific literature since the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5°C, it is very clear that there is an even more compelling case for deepening commitment and actions for stabilizing GMST at 1.5°C above the pre-industrial period.



Increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases have led to a global mean surface temperature 1.0°C higher than during the pre-industrial period. We expand on the recent IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C and review the additional risks associated with higher levels of warming, each having major implications for multiple geographies, climates, and ecosystems. Limiting warming to 1.5°C rather than 2.0°C would be required to maintain substantial proportions of ecosystems and would have clear benefits for human health and economies. These conclusions are relevant for people everywhere, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where the escalation of climate-related risks may prevent the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Keywords: Climate Change; Global Warming; International cooperation.


Learning from the #Epidemiological #Response to the 2014/15 #Ebola Virus Disease #Outbreak (J Epidemiol Globa Health, abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

J Epidemiol Glob Health. 2019 Sep;9(3):169-175. doi: 10.2991/jegh.k.190808.002.

Learning from the Epidemiological Response to the 2014/15 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak.

Holding M1,2,3, Ihekweazu C4,5, Stuart JM1,6, Oliver I1,2.

Author information: 1 NIHR Health Protection Research Unit on Evaluation of Interventions, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. 2 Field Service, National Infection Service, Public Health England, Bristol, UK. 3 NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK. 4 Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria. 5 ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Abuja, Nigeria. 6 School of Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.



A large international response was needed to bring the 2014/15 West African Ebola virus disease outbreak under control. This study sought to learn lessons from this epidemic to strengthen the response to future outbreaks of international significance by identifying priorities for future epidemiology training and response. Epidemiologists who were deployed to West Africa were recruited through a snowball sampling method and surveyed using an online anonymous questionnaire. Associations between demographics, training, qualifications, and role while in-country were explored alongside respondents’ experience during deployment. Of 128 responses, 105 met the inclusion criteria. Respondents originated from 25 countries worldwide, for many (62%), this was their first deployment abroad. The most common tasks carried out while deployed were surveillance, training, contact tracing, and cluster investigation. Epidemiologists would value more detailed predeployment briefings including organizational aspects of the response. Gaps in technical skills reported were mostly about geographical information systems; however, epidemiologists identified the need for those deployed in future to have greater knowledge about roles and responsibilities of organizations involved in the response, better cultural awareness, and leadership and management skills. Respondents felt that the public health community must improve the timeliness of the response in future outbreaks and strengthen collaboration and coordination between organizations.

© 2019 Atlantis Press International B.V.

KEYWORDS: Ebola virus; West Africa; FETP; epidemiologist; international deployment; outbreak response

PMID: 31529934 DOI: 10.2991/jegh.k.190808.002

Keywords: Ebola; West Africa; Public Health.


#Pandemic #bonds: designed to #fail in #Ebola (Nature, summary)

[Source: Nature, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Pandemic bonds: designed to fail in Ebola

Olga Jonas


The final toll of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014–16 was more than 11,000 lives, plus an estimated US$53 billion from economic disruption and collapse of health systems. In the outbreak’s wake, the global health community scrambled to deliver initiatives for increased health security. One flagship programme was the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF). Under the scheme, investors who buy pandemic bonds receive generous ‘coupons’, which annually pay about 13% interest. This compensates investors for the risk that the bonds will make ‘insurance’ payouts to fight pandemics under certain conditions. Otherwise, cash returns to the investors when the bonds mature in July 2020.


Nature 572, 285 (2019) / doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02415-9

Keywords: International cooperation; Pandemic preparedness; Ebola; DRC.


The #truth about #PHEICs (Lancet, summary)

[Source: The Lancet, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

The truth about PHEICs

Johan Giesecke, on behalf of STAG-IH †

Published: July 05, 2019 / DOI:


The recent decision by the WHO Director-General that the Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)1
has generated controversy, as articulated by the Editors2 of The Lancet. Members of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH) have discussed this Editorial and would like to clarify the role of the International Health Regulations (IHR) and the designation of a PHEIC.



I declare no competing interests.

Keywords: Ebola; IHR(2005); PHEIC; Global Health.