Why health equity is essential to ending COVID-19

November 17, 2020
If we want to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adequately prepare for the next one, policymakers must take two things into account: health equity and One Health. (700 words, 3 minutes, 30 seconds)
BIO

If we want to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adequately prepare for the next one, policymakers must take two things into account: health equity and One Health. (700 words, 3 minutes, 30 seconds)

 

Why health equity is essential to ending COVID-19

 
 

It’s been a good week for COVID-19 vaccine news with Moderna and Pfizer announcing positive results from phase 3 clinical trials—but when they’re approved, who will get them first? A coalition of stakeholders (including BIO) is urging Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize the communities hit hardest by the virus in the allocation of all COVID-19 vaccines, therapies, and resources.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep and systemic inequities in our health care system,” says a coalition of health stakeholders and advocacy organizations in the letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

“Not only are members of minority and under-served communities more likely to suffer serious health consequences from SARS-CoV-2 infections, they disproportionately suffer economic hardships related to the pandemic,” continues the letter. (USA TODAY recently dug into this in more detail.

“Given the disparate impact of COVID-19 on minority and underserved communities, we strongly believe that distributing resources without recognizing these realities risks exacerbating barriers to accessing COVID-19 treatments.” These resources include vaccines, medicines, reagents, PPE, and funding. 

The letter provides specific recommendations: explicitly setting promotion of health equity as a priority, establishing “evidence-based criteria that direct product to areas experiencing a disproportionate burden of disease or other resource constraint,” and ensuring clear communication.

BIO signed the letter because health equity is one of our priorities. We recently launched the BIOEquality Agenda to help ensure marginalized communities have access to science—including COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. 

Learn more about the BIOEquality Agenda.

 

More Health Care News:

Biopharma Dive: Moderna's vaccine can last for weeks in a refrigerator
“Moderna on Monday claimed its experimental coronavirus vaccine, once thawed, can remain stable for up to 30 days when stored at temperatures between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, citing new data that significantly improves on the seven-day window the company had previously communicated.”

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 

What 15 million mink tell us about pandemics

 
 

This story about mink in Denmark is sad—but it’s an important reminder of why One Health is critical to ending this pandemic and preventing the next one. 

The Danish government will slaughter around 15 million mink after COVID-19 outbreaks in the population, “citing concerns that a mutation in the novel coronavirus that has infected the mink could possibly interfere with the effectiveness of a vaccine for humans,” reported The New York Times.

It’s a tragedy for the animals and for the people who depend on them, as Denmark is one of the world’s major exporters of mink furs. This could abruptly end the industry in the middle of the economic crisis.  

But the mink outbreak is concerning: “Mink are the only animals known to have passed the coronavirus to humans, except for the initial spillover event from an unknown species,” said another New York Times report.

Scientists around the world agree: SARS-CoV-2 most likely “originated in bats and jumped to humans either directly or, more likely, via an intermediate host,” as Science Mag put it

And from there? We may never know exactly what happened—but we need to try to find out.

This is why One Health is important. We need to explore the links between human and animal health so we can better understand this virus—and perhaps, more importantly, prepare for the next one. 

Learn more about how One Health policies can stop future pandemics.

Listen: Earlier this year, Dr. William Karesh of the EcoHealth Alliance joined the I AM BIO Podcast to talk about what we know about COVID-19 and bats, and how we can prevent future zoonotic disease outbreaks. Click to listen.

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
Paragraph (sm) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus vel facilisis sample link.
 

President Trump’s Tuesday: No public events scheduled.

President-Elect Biden’s Tuesday: Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is expected to leave Congress to join the Biden administration in a senior White House advisory role, reports The Hill

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The CEOs of Facebook and Twitter will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on “censorship, suppression, and the 2020 election.” Two more hearings of interest today:

10 AM ET | Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission

12 PM ET | House Natural Resources Committee: Ocean Climate Action: Solutions to the Climate Crisis

 
 
Paragraph (normal) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus sample link.
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook