U.S. COVID experts are calling for help from India and Africa


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U.S. officials and health care providers watching the COVID-19 crisis in India and some African countries may help make a difference, experts said.

People are interconnected through world trade and travel, so major outbreaks of COVID-19 in other countries and regions, especially those related to worrying new variants, could affect us all, they said.

Although a first shipment of materials from the US is made vaccines He was grateful, more help is needed to prevent further tragedies of COVID-19, two medical experts pointed out during a media briefing sponsored by the Society of Infectious Diseases of America.

Sending much-needed oxygen to help, but also figuring out the transportation of oxygen to India would be “markedly useful,” said Krutika Kuppalli, MD, vice chairman of the company’s World Health Committee.

“We’re hearing horrible, horrible stories of people who need oxygen and don’t have the money to pay [it] because of the price. That’s how they disconnect oxygen and die, “he said.

Also, “people don’t have the money to pay for cremations and they are removing the bodies from the river. “

“It’s groundbreaking,” he said. These reports describe things “that shouldn’t be happening right now,” added Kuppalli, an IDSA fellow and assistant professor at South Carolina Medical University in Charleston.

Whats Need now

Now, supply exceeds demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., Kuppalli suggested redirecting leftover supplies to countries that needed it.

“Some of these high-income countries … we urge them to consider releasing part of this surplus vaccines not just in India, but in other countries that have a high number of cases right now, “he said.” We really need to control these infections. “

In addition, support for the creation of field hospitals would be appreciated, as well as assistance in telemedicine capabilities.

“There are a limited number of staff in the country who can help these telemedicine support centers,” Kuppalli said. “The health care system is very tight.” Beyond helping patients, telemedicine it could also guide medical students who will now be at the forefront.

Public-private partnerships could drive rapid saliva diagnostic tests. The same strategy could encourage more experience and resources related to genomic sequencing to identify and track variants. “We need to know what’s going on and where it’s going,” he added.

“The situation in India is truly an unprecedented public health emergency,” Kuppalli said. He said India currently has about 23 million cases related to COVID-19 and more than 250,000 deaths. “They are likely to be underestimated.”

Current predictions are that they will exceed 1.5 million deaths by Sept. 1, unless drastic action is taken, said Kuppalli, who is also a team leader. COVID INDIA SOS, a volunteer group of scientists, officials and other people around the world trying to deal with many pandemic challenges in India.

Africa also in crisis

It is likely that there is a lack of reports of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 in much of Africa.

The figures reported have declined in the past two weeks compared to December and January, for example, said Dawd Siraj, MD, a member of the IDSA World Health Committee and a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Despite this, he said, hospitals are desperate for oxygen in many countries, Siraj added.

In addition, the rate of positive tests in some African countries, such as Ethiopia and South Africa, is higher than the 5% that the World Health Organization said is required to help control the transmission of the infection.

CDC Africa data show 4.6 million cases of COVID-19 from 55 African countries. Also, B.1.167, the variant of concern first identified in India, is now also reported in some African countries.

“We are really concerned that these variants are already there. As we know, they are highly transmissible, more transmissible than the wild one, so the pandemic has not yet developed. [fully] on the African continent, ”Siraj said.

A future crisis in Africa was possible on the scale of what India is now experiencing. “I sincerely hope it’s not like that.”

One of the concerns is that Africa has a relatively low vaccination rate against COVID-19. Approximately 1% of the population has received one dose of vaccine and only a few more have received two doses.

“So it is clear that Africa has a long way to go in terms of vaccination,” Siraj said. For the same reason, he added:herd immunity it may not be a realistic and achievable goal in Africa. “

“Looking at this, it is very clear that the world needs to do more to help Africa raise the vaccine rate very, very quickly,” Siraj said.

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