Medical experts say health care needs ‘democratization’ during WEF cancer discussion

Medica experts on Friday called for the democratization of healthcare globally during a WEF discussion. (Screen grab)
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Updated 24 January 2020

Medical experts say health care needs ‘democratization’ during WEF cancer discussion

  • In terms of cancer care, treatment often depends on “social status”

Medica experts on Friday called for the democratization of healthcare globally during a World Economic Forum (WEF) discussion on “Breakthroughs in Cancer Care.”

“There is a social aspect of cancer care. There are people who cannot get basic access to care, so we have a lot of social responsibility. We need to democratise health care,” Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare, Shamsheer Vayalil said.

Vayalil discussed the issues many around the world who are unable to access healthcare for basic treatments.

In terms of cancer care, treatment often depends on “social status” and “where you live,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, explaining that it can make a difference of survival of a patient.

Although cancer death rates have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the past 30 years, this is due to early detection and treatment, the experts said.

According to the WEF, despite significant progress, cancer continues to be the number one killer of working-age adults and costs society billions in lost productivity.

Vayalil says that pharmaceutical companies to go beyond the west to treat illness.

“We want to attract bigger pharmas to focus on the other side of the world. We want to do research on the Arab genome, on the Asians. We want to be more proactive.” He said.

Despite many government-led efforts to increase racial, ethnic and gender diversity in research studies, progress has been slow in all parts of the world, a report by the WEF said.


China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

Updated 17 February 2020

China asks recovered patients to donate plasma for virus treatment

  • Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic

BEJING: Chinese health officials Monday urged patients who have recovered from the coronavirus to donate blood so that plasma can be extracted to treat others who are critically ill.
Drugmakers are racing to develop a vaccine and treatment for the epidemic, which has which killed 1,770 people and infected over 70,500 people across China.
Plasma from patients who have recovered from a spell of pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 contains antibodies that can help reduce the virus load in critically ill patients, an official from China’s National Health Commission told a press briefing Monday.
“I would like to make a call to all cured patients to donate their plasma so that they can bring hope to critically ill patients,” said Guo Yanhong, who heads the NHC’s medical administration department.
Eleven patients at a hospital in Wuhan — the epicenter of the disease — received plasma infusions last week, said Sun Yanrong, of the Biological Center at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“One patient (among them) has already been discharged, one is able to get off the bed and walk and the others are all recovering,” she said.
The call comes days after China’s state-owned medical products maker reported successful results from its trial at Wuhan First People’s Hospital.
China National Biotec Group Co. said in a post on its official WeChat account that severely ill patients receiving plasma infusions “improved within 24 hours.”
“Clinical studies have shown that infusing plasma (from recovered patients) is safe and effective,” Sun said.
Blood doners will undergo a test to ensure that they are not carrying the virus, said Wang Guiqiang, chief physician at Peking University First Hospital.
“Only plasma is taken, not all the blood,” he said.
“Other components of the blood including red blood cells and platelets will be infused back into the donors.”