The Pan American Health Organization on Wednesday urged the countries of the region to be prepared for the arrival of “new and promising” drugs against COVID-19 that are in the development phase so that no American country is left behind in the race against coronavirus.
“As new treatments gain final approval, both countries and companies must work together to ensure that everyone who can benefit from these tools have access to them in a timely manner, and at a price that our countries can afford”Highlighted the director of the Organization at a press conference.
Carissa Etienne stressed that the acquisition and supply of vaccines against COVID-19 “can be significant obstacles”, causing “innovation to remain out of the reach of those who need it most”, and that, “therefore, we cannot and must not stop Let history repeat itself
For this reason, it began to immediately start working to expand production capacity and so that countries do not continue to depend completely on pharmaceutical imports.
“While it is encouraging that some companies developing new antivirals against COVID-19 have committed to making their products available to the world’s poorest countries at affordable prices, we are concerned that many of the countries hardest hit by COVID -including many countries in our region cannot take advantage of these promises ”, he warned.
A technician conducts an experiment in a Regeneron laboratory.
Regional coronavirus registries are worse in 2021 than in 2020
The director’s warning translates into figures: since the start of the pandemic, more than 98 million people in the Americas have developed COVID and more than 2.3 million have died from this virus.
“More than a third of all COVID cases and one in four COVID deaths recorded worldwide have occurred here in the Americas. And if we compare 2020 with 2021, this year was undoubtedly worse. We have seen three times as many infections and deaths from COVID in this second year of the pandemic than in 2020”.
Among the multiple consequences that this situation brought about, Etienne indicated that “hospitals were not enough, medicines and vital supplies were exhausted”, and that health systems were put to the test as they had never been.
“But, although it has been a sobering year, we have learned what it takes to control this virus and, thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, we have protected tens of millions of people from the worst of this virus,” he said.
At the same time, totaled more than 1.3 billion the number of immunizations administered and 56% of the total number of vaccinated in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Despite this, he reiterated that the situation of inequality when it comes to vaccinating continues to divide the region, a circumstance that must be addressed or “we will not be able to control this virus.”
The omicron variant is already in nine countries in America
Asked about the evolution of omicron in the American continent, Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO Incident Manager for COVID-19, explained that the variant has already been detected in nine nations and territories of the continent – United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago and Bermuda – mostly associated with travelers.
Regarding Mexico, he indicated that one case has already been confirmed.
“We have been informed that the Ministry of Health is closely following other signals through the Sentinel Network and the consortium of the ten genomic surveillance laboratories that exist in Mexico. Therefore, additional imminent imports are expected, as observed in other countries of the world and the federal authorities of Mexico will inform in a timely manner, “he said.
Delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Mechanism in Venezuela.
The Cuban vaccines Abdala and Soberana on the way to be validated by the WHO
Regarding the situation of the Cuban vaccines Abdala and Soberana, the deputy director of the Organization, Jarbas Barbosa, said that last week the procedures with the World Health Organization began.
“The vaccine producers officially sent to the World Health Organization your intention to initiate the emergency use authorization process”,
Barbosa clarified that the process “is not fast” and that it can take “several weeks” since multiple data must be reviewed, “the quality of the manufacturing and the safety and efficacy data”.
IMF / Cory Hancock
A man walks in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic
The virus reappears strongly in the United States and Canada
Regarding the weekly evolution in the American continent, Etienne stated that more than 926,056 new COVID-19 infections were reported, an increase of 18.4% in cases compared to the previous weeks
While the United States and Canada are experiencing a recurrence of cases, Mexico continues to witness a decline in coronavirus infections
In Central America the cases have also decreased, with the exception of Panama where they continued to increase during the last month.
In Bolivia there was the first decrease in cases for the first time since September and COVID-19 infections also decreased in Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay, while in Brazil and Peru the cases remain stable.