FIP President’s message
COVID-19:News and updates
This week brought news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency authorisation to use blood plasma which contains antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 (from people who have recovered from COVID-19 disease) to treat COVID-19 patients. Previously this technique had only been used in clinical trials — further evidence is needed to demonstrate safety and efficacy. The FDA’s authorisation includes, in addition to clinical trials, expanded access for serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 disease and single patient emergency use if regulatory criteria are met. Click here for further information.
Regarding vaccines, Russia has recently approved a product for use prior to it entering phase 3 trials, to be marketed under the name Sputnik V. However, according to the World Health Organization’s European Office, there have been discussions between Russia’s teams and the WHO’s pre-qualification colleagues on how the WHO is going to assess the vaccine. WHO Europe’s regional director Hans Kluge said that while any potential vaccine is good news, all must go through the same vigorous assessments. Catherine Smallwood, a senior emergency official at WHO Europe, said that although the WHO is taking an “accelerated approach” to try to speed development of coronavirus vaccines, “it’s essential we don’t cut corners in safety or efficacy.” Over 170 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now being tracked by the WHO, which has prepared draft landscape documents for them: https://bit.ly/3gxkbRh. Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates are currently in phase 3 clinical trials:
• ChAdOx1-S (University of Oxford/AstraZeneca);
• 3 LNP-mRNAs (BioNTech/Fosun Pharma/Pfizer);
• And Adenovirus Type 5 Vector (CanSino Biologics Inc./Beijing Institute of Biotechnology)
Make sure you’re prepared for the months ahead
Uptake of this year’s influenza vaccines may increase due to COVID, according to a survey by the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPA). 26% of Canadian adults (n=1,912) who were not vaccinated last season said they would definitely or probably get vaccinated this year, and that they were more likely to do so because of COVID-19. We need to be ready to deal with the knock-on effects of COVID-19. We all also need to be prepared for second waves of COVID-19 and this can be assisted by a good understanding of how our profession adapted and responded in the early weeks of the pandemic. Articles like “COVID-19: How did community pharmacists get through the first wave?” published in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal this month are a good place to start, but you will also be supported by our FIP Virtual 2020 session on 18 September, where colleagues from Spain, New Zealand and the USA will be sharing their experiences. I invite you to register for FIP Virtual here to make sure that you are ready for the months ahead.
FIP Digital Events
While the effectiveness and safety as well as the social benefits and the return on investment of vaccines are well documented, barriers to immunisation still exist and have a significant impact on vaccination rates and the prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases. The latest in our series of webinars on increasing vaccination coverage through pharmacists, “Give it a shot: Advocating for pharmacy-based vaccination and achieving legislative changes”, will take place on 3 September at 13:00 CEST. Join us to learn about the challenges encountered when advocating for the introduction of pharmacy-based vaccination and how to overcome them. Register here: https://bit.ly/3gAgt9g
With best wishes,
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)