‘Unreliable and ineffective’: Committee criticizes government’s harsh response

A global panel of experts on Wednesday blamed the World Health Organization, the US government and others for gross failures to coordinate an international response to the COVID-19 virus, while making recommendations to guard against future pandemics and reviving disputed claims about the virus’ origins.

In a 45-page editorial, a file The Lancet Covid-19 Committee He warned that many governments have proven “untrustworthy and ineffective” as the pandemic spreads around the world, citing examples such as wealthy countries hoarding vaccine doses and failing to fund global response efforts, and Politicians like former US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro downplay the risks of the virus, even as hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens have died from it.

“What we saw – not a collaborative global strategy – was basically every country on its own,” Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist who chaired the committee told reporters at a briefing held by the prestigious medical journal. “National leaders decide…the strategy and destinies of their country in an incredibly haphazard way.”

As a result, the virus has spread across the world in “extremely unequal” ways, The committee concluded, With dire consequences for the most vulnerable, including children who have experienced learning losses from interrupted education, people in low-income countries who have had to wait for vaccine shots, and patients with persistent pain and other health problems attributable to COVID-19.

“Global and national decisions have not taken into account the less vocal voices of our societies—those who do not vote, such as immigrants and refugees, or who do not have the energy to raise their concerns, such as our elderly people. “People” said Gabriela Cuevas Barron, a Mexican politician and member of the Lancet Committee: Who were too busy looking after us, like essential workers and women who were on the front lines fighting the virus without professional equipment.”

The Lancet report also criticized the WHO, saying the global health watchdog had “acted very cautiously and very slowly” on many urgent matters, such as realizing that the virus was spreading. By air transport. The committee calls for strengthening the UN agency by giving it more funding and authority, and urges the creation of a new Global Health Council to help the WHO make timely decisions.

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WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said in a statement that the organization welcomed the committee’s recommendations and agreed with its call for more funding. But Harris warned of “several major omissions and misinterpretations”, saying the panel had mislabeled “the speed and scope of WHO’s actions”.

As health providers around the world prepare for a third winter due to the coronavirus, the committee stresses that “globally coordinated efforts” can end the pandemic, urges a sustainable approach to mass vaccinations, public health measures such as concealment in some places, social and financial support for infected people To continue isolation and genuine cooperation between the world’s most powerful nations.

“China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, and other major regional and global powers must put aside their geopolitical rivalries to work together to end this pandemic and prepare for the next and other global crises,” the report concluded.

The Lancet Commission report carries no legal or regulatory authority. But its recommendations, which are based on more than two years of work from more than 170 experts, represent One of the most well-known attempts to identify lessons learned from COVID-19 and how to better prepare for the next pandemic. The United States’ efforts to conduct a bipartisan review of the response to the epidemic have led to stalled in Congressand other independent bidders have struggled to win funding or gain widespread attention.

But the Lancet report also comes after Sachs, the committee chair, publicly adopted the “lab leak theory,” which posits that the virus may have escaped from the lab and could have a man-made origin, prompting a backlash from scientists who warned that His advocacy of the disputed theory would overshadow the commission’s work.

Government officials like Anthony S Fauci are ‘not being honest’ about the origins of the virus, Sachs claimed On a podcast in August with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has Spreading conspiracy theories about vaccines. Sachs also co-authored with May Article – Commodity In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which argued that US scientists may have had a role in shaping SARS-CoV-2 and called for an investigation into the origin of the epidemic through a “bipartisan investigation in Congress with full investigative powers”.

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Sachs’ call sparked a year-long private battle with other panelists who say there’s more Evidence that the virus has a “natural origin” and that it was transmitted first to humans from an animalwho worked to find a compromise on what the final report would say.

Scientists have refined the argument that the Corona virus came from the Wuhan market

“Along with two other commissioners, I helped lead efforts to keep conspiracy nonsense and doodling out of the final report,” said Peter Hotez, a virologist at Baylor College of Medicine and a member of the committee. “I would be disappointed if the origins of the coronavirus conspiracies end up detracting from some important and legitimate shortcomings in our understanding of how SARS, MERS, and the coronavirus came to be.”

The committee’s report urged further investigations into both the lab leak theories and theories of natural origins, and blamed the National Institutes of Health for failing to provide more information about the US government’s potential role in funding Chinese research into coronaviruses. The report concluded that “the search for the origins requires unbiased, independent, transparent and rigorous work by international teams in virology, epidemiology, bioinformatics and other related fields.”

The commissioners also called for the World Health Organization to be able to inspect and regulate facilities where scientists study and test for viruses that could cause potential pandemics. “Looking for a Job” It could lead to more lethal or transmissible versions of viruses, and the commission warned that there is too little oversight for “manipulation of dangerous pathogens”.

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“Advances in biotechnology in the past two decades have made it possible to create new and highly dangerous pathogens,” the report concluded. “Even today, there is little understanding and clarity about the research on SARS-like viruses that was underway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But the report did not provide new scientific information on the origin of the virus, nor did it mention two papers Recently published in Science That makes the case that the epidemic started in a market in China, not in a lab.

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Organization of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said she found the report’s assertions on the virus’ origins and gain-of-function research “appalling.”

“None of the relevant evidence has been cited, and it is clear why: there is confusion indicating equal probability of natural and laboratory origin that is completely contrary to our current scientific understanding,” Rasmussen said. “It is hard not to think that this omission is intended to suggest that ‘leak in the lab’ is more plausible than it is – and also to reinforce the completely unfounded and unfounded view that the epidemic resulted from so-called ‘gain-of-function’ research. There is a conspiracy involving both the Chinese authorities and the National Institutes of Health to cover it up.”

The final report comes after more than twenty experts confirmed In The Lancet in February 2020, she said it was a “conspiracy theory” to consider that COVID-19 had leaked from a lab. Since then, the publication and these authors have faced scrutiny that the statement was hastened by scientists who were trying to pre-empt investigations in their own research.

The Lancet report also builds on well-established principles in international development, arguing that universal health coverage and more financial support for international health efforts would provide needed protection against newly emerging infectious diseases.

Joel Achenbach contributed to this report.

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