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1.
J Eval Clin Pract ; 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537833

ABSTRACT

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie showed how a single story is limited and thereby distorts the true nature of an issue. During this COVID-19 pandemic there have been, at least, three consecutive single stories-the 'lethal threat' story, followed by the 'economic threat' story, and finally the 'vaccine miracle' story. None of these single stories can convincingly and permanently capture the dynamics of the pandemic. This is because countries experienced different morbidity and mortality patterns, different socioeconomic disadvantage, age and vulnerability of population, timing and level of lockdown with economic variability, and, despite heavy promotion, vaccines were beset with a significant and variable degree of hesitancy. Lack of transparency, coherence and consistency of pandemic management-arising from holding on to single storylines-showed the global deficiency of public health policy and planning, an underfunding of (public) health and social services, and a growing distrust in governments' ability to manage crises effectively. Indeed, the global management has increased already large inequities, and little has been learnt to address the growing crises of more infectious and potentially more lethal virus mutations. Holding onto single stories prevents the necessary learnings to understand and manage the complexities of 'wicked' problems, whereas listening to the many stories provides insights and pathways to do so effectively as well as efficiently.

2.
Expert Rev Vaccines ; : 1-12, 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510818

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The global COVID-19 vaccine rollout has highlighted inequities in the accessibility of countries to COVID-19 vaccines. Populations in low- and middle-income countries have found it difficult to have access to COVID-19 vaccines. AREAS COVERED: This perspective provides analyses on historical and contemporary policy trends of vaccine development and immunization programs, including the current COVID-19 vaccination drive, and governance challenges. Moreover, we also provide a comparative health system analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine deployment in some countries from different continents. It recommends that the international Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) partnership requires a strong governance mechanism and urgent financial investment. EXPERT OPINION: All WHO member states should agree on technology transfer and voluntary license-sharing via a commonly governed technology access pool and supported by a just Intellectual Property regime. Contextualized, dynamic understandings and country-specific versions of health systems strengthening are needed to improve vaccine equity in a sustainable matter.

3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(16)2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360743

ABSTRACT

The differential spread and impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), across regions is a major focus for researchers and policy makers. Africa has attracted tremendous attention, due to predictions of catastrophic impacts that have not yet materialized. Early in the pandemic, the seemingly low African case count was largely attributed to low testing and case reporting. However, there is reason to consider that many African countries attenuated the spread and impacts early on. Factors explaining low spread include early government community-wide actions, population distribution, social contacts, and ecology of human habitation. While recent data from seroprevalence studies posit more extensive circulation of the virus, continuing low COVID-19 burden may be explained by the demographic pyramid, prevalence of pre-existing conditions, trained immunity, genetics, and broader sociocultural dynamics. Though all these prongs contribute to the observed profile of COVID-19 in Africa, some provide stronger evidence than others. This review is important to expand what is known about the differential impacts of pandemics, enhancing scientific understanding and gearing appropriate public health responses. Furthermore, it highlights potential lessons to draw from Africa for global health on assumptions regarding deadly viral pandemics, given its long experience with infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Africa/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(10)2021 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227021

ABSTRACT

Intimate Partners' Violence (IPV) is a public health problem with long-lasting mental and physical health consequences for victims and their families. As evidence has been increasing that COVID-19 lockdown measures may exacerbate IPV, our study sought to describe the magnitude of IPV in women and identify associated determinants. An online survey was conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 24 August to 8 September 2020. Of the 4160 respondents, 2002 eligible women were included in the data analysis. Their mean age was 36.3 (SD: 8.2). Most women (65.8%) were younger than 40 years old. Prevalence of any form of IPV was 11.7%. Being in the 30-39 and >50 years' age groups (OR = 0.66, CI: 0.46-0.95; p = 0.026 and OR = 0.23, CI: 0.11-048; p < 0.001, respectively), living in urban setting (OR = 0.63, CI: 0.41-0.99; p = 0.047), and belonging to the middle socioeconomic class (OR = 0.48, CI: 0.29-0.79; p = 0.003) significantly decreased the odds for experiencing IPV. Lower socioeconomic status (OR = 1.84, CI: 1.04-3.24; p = 0.035) and being pregnant (OR = 1.63, CI: 1.16-2.29; p = 0.005) or uncertain of pregnancy status (OR = 2.01, CI: 1.17-3.44; p = 0.011) significantly increased the odds for reporting IPV. Additional qualitative research is needed to identify the underlying reasons and mechanisms of IPV in order to develop and implement prevention interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Intimate Partner Violence , Adult , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Pregnancy , Prevalence , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Partners , Surveys and Questionnaires , Violence
8.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(5)2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1124684

ABSTRACT

Adherence to preventive measures is essential to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Two online surveys were conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 23 April to 8 June 2020, and from August 24th to September 8th, respectively. A total of 3268 (round 1) and 4160 (round 2) participants were included. In both surveys, there was a moderate level of adherence to regular handwashing (85% and 77%, respectively), wearing of facemasks (41.4% and 69%, respectively), and respecting physical distancing (58% and 43.4%, respectively). The second survey found that, working in private (OR = 2.31, CI: 1.66-3.22; p < 0.001) and public organizations (OR = 1.61, CI: 1.04-2.49; p = 0.032) and being a healthcare worker (OR = 2.19, CI: 1.57-3.05; p < 0.001) significantly increased the odds for better adherence. However, a unit increase in age (OR = 0.99, CI: 0.98-0.99; p < 0.026), having attained lower education levels (OR = 0.60, CI: 0.46-0.78; p < 0.001), living in a room (OR = 0.36, CI: 0.15-0.89; p = 0.027), living in a studio (OR = 0.26, CI: 0.11-0.61; p = 0.002) and apartment (OR = 0.29, CI: 0.10-0.82; p = 0.019) significantly decreased the odds for better adherence. We recommend a multi-sectorial approach to monitor and respond to the pandemic threat. While physical distancing may be difficult in Africa, it should be possible to increase the use of facemasks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
10.
BMJ Open ; 11(1): e043356, 2021 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1035243

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to assess the level of adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to identify factors associated with non-adherence. DESIGN: A cross-sectional population-based online survey. SETTINGS: The study was conducted in 22 provinces of the DRC. Five provinces with a satisfactory number of respondents were included in the analysis: Haut Katanga, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Kinshasa and North Kivu. PARTICIPANTS: The participants were people aged ≥18 years, living in the DRC. A total of 3268 participants were included in the study analysis. INTERVENTIONS: Both convenience sampling (surveyors themselves contacted potential participants in different districts) and snowball sampling (the participants were requested to share the link of the questionnaire with their contacts) methods were used. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: We computed adherence scores using responses to 10 questions concerning COVID-19 preventive measures recommended by the WHO and the DRC Ministry of Health. We used logistic regression analysis with generalised estimating equations to identify factors of poor adherence. We also asked about the presence or absence of flu-like symptoms during the preceding 14 days, whether a COVID-19 test was done and the test result. RESULTS: Data from 3268 participants were analysed. Face masks were not used by 1789 (54.7%) participants. Non-adherence to physical distancing was reported by 1364 (41.7%) participants. 501 (15.3%) participants did not observe regular handwashing. Five variables were associated with poor adherence: lower education level, living with other people at home, being jobless/students, living with a partner and not being a healthcare worker. CONCLUSION: Despite compulsory restrictions imposed by the government, only about half of the respondents adhered to COVID-19 preventive measures in the DRC. Disparities across the provinces are remarkable. There is an urgent need to further explore the reasons for these disparities and factors associated with non-adherence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Guideline Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Female , Guidelines as Topic , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Logistic Models , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Physical Distancing , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
11.
N Engl J Med ; 384(19): 1824-1835, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1029938

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Efficacious vaccines are urgently needed to contain the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A candidate vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S, is a recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus serotype 26 (Ad26) vector encoding a full-length and stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. METHODS: In this multicenter, placebo-controlled, phase 1-2a trial, we randomly assigned healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 years (cohort 1) and those 65 years of age or older (cohort 3) to receive the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine at a dose of 5×1010 viral particles (low dose) or 1×1011 viral particles (high dose) per milliliter or placebo in a single-dose or two-dose schedule. Longer-term data comparing a single-dose regimen with a two-dose regimen are being collected in cohort 2; those results are not reported here. The primary end points were the safety and reactogenicity of each dose schedule. RESULTS: After the administration of the first vaccine dose in 805 participants in cohorts 1 and 3 and after the second dose in cohort 1, the most frequent solicited adverse events were fatigue, headache, myalgia, and injection-site pain. The most frequent systemic adverse event was fever. Systemic adverse events were less common in cohort 3 than in cohort 1 and in those who received the low vaccine dose than in those who received the high dose. Reactogenicity was lower after the second dose. Neutralizing-antibody titers against wild-type virus were detected in 90% or more of all participants on day 29 after the first vaccine dose (geometric mean titer [GMT], 212 to 354), regardless of vaccine dose or age group, and reached 96% by day 57 with a further increase in titers (GMT, 288 to 488) in cohort 1a. Titers remained stable until at least day 71. A second dose provided an increase in the titer by a factor of 2.6 to 2.9 (GMT, 827 to 1266). Spike-binding antibody responses were similar to neutralizing-antibody responses. On day 15, CD4+ T-cell responses were detected in 76 to 83% of the participants in cohort 1 and in 60 to 67% of those in cohort 3, with a clear skewing toward type 1 helper T cells. CD8+ T-cell responses were robust overall but lower in cohort 3. CONCLUSIONS: The safety and immunogenicity profiles of Ad26.COV2.S support further development of this vaccine candidate. (Funded by Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services; COV1001 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04436276.).


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Cohort Studies , Double-Blind Method , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
12.
Preprint | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-6011

ABSTRACT

The variation in the speed and intensity of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and severity of the resulting COVID-19 disease are still imperfectly understood. We postulat

14.
Med Hypotheses ; 146: 110431, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969787

ABSTRACT

The variation in the speed and intensity of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and severity of the resulting COVID-19 disease are still imperfectly understood. We postulate a dose-response relationship in COVID-19, and that "the dose of virus in the initial inoculum" is an important missing link in understanding several incompletely explained observations in COVID-19 as a factor in transmission dynamics and severity of disease. We hypothesize that: (1) Viral dose in inoculum is related to severity of disease, (2) Severity of disease is related to transmission potential, and (3) In certain contexts, chains of severe cases can build up to severe local outbreaks, and large-scale intensive epidemics. Considerable evidence from other infectious diseases substantiates this hypothesis and recent evidence from COVID-19 points in the same direction. We suggest research avenues to validate the hypothesis. If proven, our hypothesis could strengthen the scientific basis for deciding priority containment measures in various contexts in particular the importance of avoiding super-spreading events and the benefits of mass masking.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load/physiology , Adaptive Immunity , COVID-19/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/immunology , Host Microbial Interactions/physiology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index
15.
Preprint | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-1705

ABSTRACT

The variation in the speed and intensity of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and severity of the resulting COVID-19 disease are still imperfectly understood. We postulat

18.
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(7)2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689115

ABSTRACT

It is very exceptional that a new disease becomes a true pandemic. Since its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, has spread to nearly all countries of the world in only a few months. However, in different countries, the COVID-19 epidemic takes variable shapes and forms in how it affects communities. Until now, the insights gained on COVID-19 have been largely dominated by the COVID-19 epidemics and the lockdowns in China, Europe and the USA. But this variety of global trajectories is little described, analysed or understood. In only a few months, an enormous amount of scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has been uncovered (knowns). But important knowledge gaps remain (unknowns). Learning from the variety of ways the COVID-19 epidemic is unfolding across the globe can potentially contribute to solving the COVID-19 puzzle. This paper tries to make sense of this variability-by exploring the important role that context plays in these different COVID-19 epidemics; by comparing COVID-19 epidemics with other respiratory diseases, including other coronaviruses that circulate continuously; and by highlighting the critical unknowns and uncertainties that remain. These unknowns and uncertainties require a deeper understanding of the variable trajectories of COVID-19. Unravelling them will be important for discerning potential future scenarios, such as the first wave in virgin territories still untouched by COVID-19 and for future waves elsewhere.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Global Health , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Infection Control , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919 , Influenza, Human , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
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