Sep 28, 2021

GHN News

A "do not resuscitate" order is written on the window of a patient's room in the COVID-19 ICU in Grants Pass, Oregon. September 9, 2021. 
Image: Nathan Howard/Getty

Covid-19 Treatments: Coming Soon?

Vaccines, vaccines, vaccines… What about COVID-19 treatments?
More are in the works:
Pfizer announced yesterday it has launched a Phase 2/3 trial of an oral antiviral treatment (PF-07321332) with 2,600 healthy adults who share a household with someone who has a confirmed COVID-19 infection, Reuters reports.
The drug seeks to “block a key enzyme needed for the virus to multiply.” A low dose of an older medication used in HIV treatments (ritonavir) will be given with the new drug.
The Quote: “If successful, we believe this therapy could help stop the virus early — before it has had a chance to replicate extensively,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer president.
Another treatment: Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have a late-stage trial ongoing of the experimental drug molnupiravir that seeks to prevent infection.
The Moonshot: A nonprofit, open-science consortium committed to affordable antivirals against COVID-19 has received £8 million ($10.8 million) in funding from Wellcome, DNDi said yesterday. The COVID Moonshot includes 150 scientists who are crowdsourcing ideas for molecular compounds with plans to evaluate them in-vitro against SARS-CoV-2. Clinical trials are expected to begin next year.
So far: The US has approved only 1 antiviral for COVID-19: Remdesivir, per Axios.

Related: A daily pill to treat COVID could be just months away, scientists say – PBS NewsHour


Put the Global in GHN

We’re thrilled to see that readers in 19 countries so far have supported our crowdfunding campaign, including:
  • Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, New Zealand Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the US.
It’s a great reminder to us of how global our community is. 

If your country isn’t yet represented, please consider supporting our work. Any amount you can afford would be welcome. Let’s see if we can reach 170 countries! 

Many thanks to the 230 people who have already contributed already. 

And there's still time for you to support GHN. 
–- Dayna
P.S. As always: We love to hear from you, so please write me with any questions, comments, tips:
Support GHN →

Global Health Voices


The Latest

Global Numbers
  • 232,414,232 cases
  • 4,758,272 deaths
  • 6,141,709,114 vaccine doses administered
—Source: Johns Hopkins University

Key Developments

The first mRNA vaccine from French vaccine maker Sanofi showed promising results in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial; the company is not developing a new COVID-19 shot, but says the results pave the way to use the mRNA technology to develop vaccines to fight other pathogens. STAT
Russia has recorded a record 24-hour death toll from COVID-19, losing 852 lives in 24 hours, as a lagging vaccination campaign converges with a surge in infections linked to Delta. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Angola has recorded more deaths linked to COVID-19 than to malaria in the last 2 weeks, the government announced Monday; “The situation in the country is quite alarming,” the president’s chief of staff Francisco Furtado warned. MacauBusiness
Hospitals in New York yesterday began firing and suspending staff who forego the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, resulting in staffing shortages and some delays in elective surgeries. Reuters


In Qom, where Iran outbreak began, virus rages on – AP (photo essay)

The Lab-Leak Debate Just Got Even Messier – The Atlantic

In a matter of days, Pfizer CEO says they'll be ready to ask for approval of a Covid-19 vaccine for kids – ABC7 (Chicago)

Top CDC official steps aside as head of pandemic task force – Politico

I got the Moderna vaccine. Can I get a Pfizer booster? – NBC

I fear Covid-19 is pushing young physicians out of medicine – STAT (commentary)

‘I Need an Army’: Across America, Schools Cram for Their Covid Tests – The New York Times

Covid-19 Wasn’t the Only Killer in 2020

Killings in the US were up a historic 30% last year, a scourge driven by guns, according to the FBI’s annual crime statistics released Monday.
  • It was the biggest jump since 1960, when the government began gathering such numbers, The Trace reports.
Another disturbing record: 77% of 2020 murders involved a firearm, the highest percentage ever recorded.
Driving the rise: A combination of the pandemic and a “police legitimacy crisis” spurred by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, The Washington Post reports.
  • Crime overall, however, is still well below the historic highs of the 1990s.
New data system: Starting next year, the FBI will change how it collects these numbers, and the process looks poised for growing pains. Many law enforcement agencies haven’t yet provided data that conforms with the new system. 
“It’s a little bit like cleaning out your garage — first you put a lot of stuff on the lawn, so it looks worse before it looks better,” said Mitch Beemer of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Related: Firearm Relinquishment Laws Associated With Substantial Reduction In Homicide Of Pregnant And Postpartum Women – Health Affairs

Global Health Voices


Calling All STEM and Social Science Grad Students!

Civic engagement is an increasingly important skill set for scientists. This year, Research America is offering grants of up to $4,000 to early career scientists with proposals for virtual and in-person civic engagement. 
Groups will have the opportunity to select from several modules.
Plus: Micrograntees will have access to educational resources on science policy, networking opportunities, and training webinars. 
  • Applications deadline: October 12, 2021
  • For more info, register for the informational meeting TOMORROW at 1 p.m. ET

Daily Diversion

Quick Hits

The DEA Is Warning Of A Rise In Overdose Deaths From Fake Drugs Laced With Fentanyl – NPR

Plasmodium falciparum is evolving to escape malaria rapid diagnostic tests in Ethiopia – Nature

Cancer Without Chemotherapy: ‘A Totally Different World’ – The New York Times

Reproductive Healthcare has a Long Way to Go in Canada – The McGill Daily (commentary)

Studying the effect of racism on Black women’s brains finds traumalike impact – The Washington Post 

Canada Starts Cracking Down on Fringe Medical Groups – MedPage Today

Hyena scavenging provides public health and economic benefits to African cities – University of Michigan News
Issue No. 1915

Global Health NOW is an initiative of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Views and opinions expressed in this email do not necessarily reflect those of the Bloomberg School. Contributors include Brian W. Simpson, MPH, Dayna Kerecman Myers, Annalies Winny, Melissa Hartman, and Jackie Powder. Write us:, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GHN_News.

Please send the Global Health NOW free sign-up link to friends and colleagues:

Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.