• The COVID-19 Menace

      Walczak, Piotr; Janowski, Miroslaw (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021-05-07)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which binds to ectoenzyme angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. It is very contagious and is spreading rapidly around the world. Until now, coronaviruses have mainly been associated with the aerodigestive tract due to the presence of a monobasic cleavage site for the resident transmembrane serine protease 2. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 is equipped with a second, polybasic cleavage site for the ubiquitous furin protease, which may determine the widespread tissue tropism. Furthermore, the terminal sequence of the furin-cleaved spike protein also binds to neuropilin receptors. Clinically, there is enormous variability in the severity of the disease. Severe consequences are seen in a relatively small number of patients, most show moderate symptoms, but asymptomatic cases, especially among young people, drive disease spread. Unfortunately, the number of local infections can quickly build up, causing disease outbreaks suddenly exhausting health services' capacity. Therefore, COVID-19 is dangerous and unpredictable and has become the most serious threat for generations. Here, the latest research on COVID-19 is summarized, including its spread, testing methods, organ-specific complications, the role of comorbidities, long-term consequences, mortality, as well as a new hope for immunity, drugs, and vaccines.
    • Ghana's COVID-19 response: the Black Star can do even better

      Quakyi, Nana Kofi; Agyemang Asante, Nana Ama; Nartey, Yvonne Ayerki; Bediako, Yaw; Sam-Agudu, Nadia Adjoa (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-03-12)
    • National routine adult immunisation programmes among World Health Organization Member States: an assessment of health systems to deploy COVID-19 vaccines.

      Williams, Sarah R; Driscoll, Amanda J; LeBuhn, Hanna M; Chen, Wilbur H; Neuzil, Kathleen M; Ortiz, Justin R (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2021-04-29)
      Introduction As SARS-CoV-2 disproportionately affects adults, the COVID-19 pandemic vaccine response will rely on adult immunisation infrastructures. Aim To assess adult immunisation programmes in World Health Organization (WHO) Member States. Methods We evaluated country reports from 2018 on adult immunisation programmes sent to WHO and UNICEF. We described existing programmes and used multivariable regression to identify independent factors associated with having them. Results Of 194 WHO Member States, 120 (62%) reported having at least one adult immunisation programme. The Americas and Europe had the highest proportions of adult immunisation programmes, most commonly for hepatitis B and influenza vaccines (> 47% and > 91% of countries, respectively), while Africa and South-East Asia had the lowest proportions, with < 11% of countries reporting adult immunisation programmes for hepatitis B or influenza vaccines, and none for pneumococcal vaccines. In bivariate analyses, high or upper-middle country income, introduction of new or underused vaccines, having achieved paediatric immunisation coverage goals and meeting National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups basic functional indicators were significantly associated (p < 0.001) with having an adult immunisation programme. In multivariable analyses, the most strongly associated factor was country income, with high- or upper-middle-income countries significantly more likely to report having an adult immunisation programme (adjusted odds ratio: 19.3; 95% confidence interval: 6.5-57.7).Discussion Worldwide, 38% of countries lack adult immunisation programmes. COVID-19 vaccine deployment will require national systems for vaccine storage and handling, delivery and waste management to target adult risk groups. There is a need to strengthen immunisation systems to reach adults with COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Oral Polio Vaccine to Protect Against COVID-19: Out of the Box Strategies?

      Malave Sanchez, Melanie; Saleeb, Paul; Kottilil, Shyam; Mathur, Poonam (Oxford University Press, 2021-07-09)
      The global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has raised significant concerns of developing rapid, broad strategies to protect the vulnerable population and prevent morbidity and mortality. However, even with an aggressive approach, controlling the pandemic has been challenging, with concerns of emerging variants that likely escape vaccines, nonadherence of social distancing/preventive measures by the public, and challenges in rapid implementation of a global vaccination program that involves mass production, distribution, and execution. In this review, we revisit the utilization of attenuated vaccinations, such as the oral polio vaccine, which are safe, easy to administer, and likely provide cross-protection against respiratory pathogens. We discuss the rationale and data supporting its use and detail description of available vaccines that could be repurposed for curtailing the pandemic.