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Friday, March 27, 2020

(COVID -19) Coronavirus in the Americas Lessons Update

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 
COVID-19 (Americas) situation report

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow)
...Read more

Interesting Facts 

Proteins making up these spikes also suggest to the scientists that this virus originally came from bats, and that mutations to them along their evolutionary progression are what make the virus able to penetrate human cells - particularly respiratory ones
Scientists in Iceland claim they have found FORTY mutations of the coronavirus. Viruses accumulate mutations as they evolve, which may or may not cause them to behave in different ways. Mutating is a biological process which would have allowed the virus to attack the human body in the first place. Scientists believe the infection lurked in animals for years, perhaps even decades, before it gained the ability to jump to humans. Studying viruses using genomics helps to understand how they behave, which will help scientists fight the spiralling pandemic. Icelandic scientists investigated the virus within their own country, where one death has been reported.

The Icelandic health authorities, along with genetics firm DeCode Genetics, tested 9,768 people for coronavirus, Information reports.This included anyone who had been diagnosed, as well as people with symptoms or those in high risk groups for the coronavirus. Some 5,000 volunteers who did not have any symptoms stepped forward to join the study – 48 of whom actually tested positive. 
Complete genome sequencing was performed, which revealed clues about how the virus has evolved and the chain of transmission. 'We can see how viruses mutate,' said Kári Stefánsson, director of DeCode Genetics. 'We have found 40 island-specific virus mutations...Read more

How Tech Is Being Used to Track and Respond to Viral Outbreaks. As the COVID-19 virus spreads in the U.S. and around the world, sophisticated geographic information systems are being used to monitor its progress and provide real-time information to medical institutions and the public.
When it comes to diseases, the whole question gets trickier. It would be a lot easier to track chronic disease than infectious disease, because infectious disease is fast-moving and you need real-time or near-real-time data. That’s why I think this [tracking of coronavirus] is so significant. It’s the first time I’ve seen an infectious disease tracked on a large scale before. Johns Hopkins started off with Google docs, where they collected and uploaded data from the WHO and the CDC, as well as the Chinese organization DXY and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control [ECDC]. And then they used that data to populate their dashboards, which were refreshed a couple times per day.
Johns Hopkins

Once their dashboards started getting a lot of hits, our company contacted them and assisted with a few cartography tweaks to help out. It was [also a matter of automating] the data process. In any system, it’s ideal if you can connect directly to [the data source] and let the computer do the update work for you. You have all of these entities that have data to share and you want to combine them into one data resource. The amount of data that’s being shared publicly is far beyond what I’ve ever seen before. I’ve seen tracking of ebola and Zika virus at an international scale — but it was not nearly as fast moving as this, nor was it updated as often as we’re seeing with coronavirus. Also, what I’ve seen previously has been webmaps. I think map-centric dashboarding provides even more information. That’s also new at this scale...Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

Case detection, priority in strategy against covid-19. Specifically, the Ministry, according to the recommendations of the Colombian Association of Infectious Diseases (Acin) and the Institute for Technology Assessment (IETS), will begin to screen the population with rapid molecular tests that allow the detection of components (viral antigens) of the new coronavirus. and thus to be able to make deep analyzes to the suspected cases. "As of April 1, Colombia will have at least 350,000 weekly tests thanks to the management carried out by the Ministry of Health," said the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz Gómez.
Pruebas para coronavirus
Gomez emphasized that these are not diagnostic tests but screening tests. In other words, "they allow the optimization of resources, helping health professionals to make decisions regarding isolation, carrying out confirmatory diagnostic tests and treatment."

With this, the Ministry explains, it will be possible to indicate a possible recent or ongoing infection, since they are much more effective in ruling out negative cases..Read more

Coronavirus: the advantages of Latin America to combat the pandemic"We can have a more terrifying scenario than that of Italy," alerts (Miguel Lago). But beyond the deficiencies of the health systems and the inequities, Latin America also has advantages to face the crisis and make the impact less than in other parts of the world.

Time and distance - Latin America and Africa were the regions where the coronavirus later arrived, which originated in China and from there spread to Asia and later to Europe and the United States, the areas most affected by the outbreak in this moment. The distance of Latin America from Asia and Europe, from which separate oceans separate it, allowed us to save time. The containment experiences taken by China and Europe served to take precautionary measures much earlier than it took to reach Italy and Spain, countries that were more surprised by the exponential increase in cases.

Experience with infectious diseases - Unlike Europe, Latin America itself is used to dealing with infectious diseases. The region "has extensive experience in managing outbreaks and pandemics, such as H1N1 in 2009 and Zika 4-5 years ago," recalls Espinal. "Latin America has learned from those lessons and the countries are a little better prepared than before those epidemics," he adds. For example, when controlling entry points to countries, such as airports, and having isolation units and laboratories ready...Read more

Video: The Impact of the Coronavirus on Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Bank's Amparo Elena Gordillo-Tobar said that about one third of the economic losses from the coronavirus will come from loss of life and workplace closures, while the remaining losses will come from economic uncertainty. 

It’s too early to assess and understand the complete impact of pandemic on the world economy because we don’t know the duration of the pandemic, said Ines Bustillo of ECLAC, adding that COVID-19 is different because it’s both a supply and a demand shock. Bustillo explained that countries that have already been applying fiscal restrictions now face a dilemma with their macroeconomic policy to deal with their response to the virus, which is causing currency devaluations throughout the region.

Asked by moderator Eric Farnsworth for final recommendations for regional governments, panelists said to create partnerships, protect health workers, look for long-term sustainable solutions, “flatten the curve,” and look out for the most vulnerable...Read more

Friday, March 6, 2020

(COVID -19) Coronavirus in the Americas

Coronavirus situation in the world: WHO COVID-19 map cases

Coronavirus situation in the Americas PAHO

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation SummaryOn January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concernexternal icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC is shipping the test kits to laboratories CDC has designated as qualified, including U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. The test kits are bolstering global laboratory capacity for detecting SARS-CoV-2.The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.

Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, including in some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed...Read more

Interesting Facts 

Face masks during outbreaks: Who, when, where and how to use them. Washington, D.C., 28 February 2020 (PAHO/WHO) — The use of face masks during outbreaks of viral illnesses such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has only been shown in scientific studies to be effective for protecting healthcare workers and to reduce the risk of sick patients spreading the disease. Based on that evidence, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) recommends the use of face masks by:
  • People who have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing, including when they are seeking medical attention—to protect others around them.
  • People (including family members) who are providing care to individuals with respiratory symptoms.
  • Healthcare workers, when entering a room with patients or treating an individual with respiratory symptoms, and according to the type of care that will be provided.
Wearing a face mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections in any of these circumstances and should be combined with other personal protective measures, such as hand hygiene, keeping your distance from people with symptoms, and respiratory hygiene (or cough etiquette)...Read more

The global spread of 2019-nCoV: a molecular evolutionary analysisThe global spread of the 2019-nCoV is continuing and is fast moving, as indicated by the WHO raising the risk assessment to high. In this article, we provide a preliminary phylodynamic and phylogeographic analysis of this new virus. A Maximum Clade Credibility tree has been built using the 29 available whole genome sequences of 2019-nCoV and two whole genome sequences that are highly similar sequences from Bat SARS-like Coronavirus available in GeneBank. We are able to clarify the mechanism of transmission among the countries which have provided the 2019-nCoV sequence isolates from their patients.

Resultado de imagen para covid-19 coronavirus hd picture
The Bayesian phylogeographic reconstruction shows that the 2019–2020 nCoV most probably originated from the Bat SARS-like Coronavirus circulating in the Rhinolophus bat family. In agreement with epidemiological observations, the most likely geographic origin of the new outbreak was the city of Wuhan, China, where 2019-nCoV time of the most recent common ancestor emerged, according to molecular clock analysis, around November 25th, 2019. These results, together with previously recorded epidemics, suggest a recurring pattern of periodical epizootic outbreaks due to Betacoronavirus. Moreover, our study describes the same population genetic dynamic underlying the SARS 2003 epidemic, and suggests the urgent need for the development of effective molecular surveillance strategies of Betacoronavirus among animals and Rhinolophus of the bat family...Read more

Policy Developments and Outlook

A tool to investigate outbreaks, Go.Data, is rolled out for COVID-19 in Latin America. Mexico, 2 march 2020 (PAHO/WHO)- Go.Data, a platform that facilitates the collection, investigation and visualization of case and contact data during an outbreak, was rolled out today in Mexico by the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), and the Ministry of Health of Mexico.
godata mex

The tool, which can be utilized by public health professionals involved in outbreak response, allows for the collection of case data, including on laboratory results, hospitalizations and other variables, and enables the control and monitoring of contacts. It also includes a visualization of trains of transmission and the generation of epidemiological curves.

The tool has been used since 2019 in the response to the Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, as well as for the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh. WHO is now working with its member states and partners to make Go.Data available for the response to COVID-19..Read more

New coronavirus: Fiocruz, Ministry of Health of Brazil and PAHO provide training in laboratory diagnosis in nine countries. Brasilia, 7 February 2020 (PAHO) - Experts from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), the Ministry of Health of Brazil and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) provided training on laboratory diagnosis of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on February 6 and 7 for specialists from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

TrainingDuring the activity, the participants carried out a practical exercise of molecular detection of 2019-nCoV and received diagnostic materials (primers and positive controls), in addition to reviewing and discussing the main tests and protocols available.

PAHO’s representative in Brazil, Socorro Gross, said this type of training is essential so that countries in the Americas have the necessary knowledge to perform early diagnosis of 2019-nCoV following WHO protocols...Read more

PAHO Prepares Barbados for COVID-19 Testing. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is implementing a comprehensive plan to support country preparedness efforts for the outbreak associated with the new Coronavirus (COVID-19). This plan includes establishing and strengthening laboratory capacity for early detection of the virus through the public health and reference laboratory networks in the Americas.

Mrs Songee Beckles, Director of the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory
The Barbados ‘Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory’ became one of the first in the Caribbean to acquire test kits and reagents for COVID-19 detection, with concurrent training of laboratory personnel in the new testing protocol. The provision of COVID-19 test kits and training were made possible by PAHO Health Emergencies Department, who has worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to enhance national capacity in response to the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Virus detection requires high complexity tests that identify the specific genetic fingerprint of the virus. To support the implementation of the virus detection in Barbados, PAHO conducted training at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory...Read more