The critical concentrations for culture-based phenotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST) to first-line anti-TB drugs have been revised by the the World Health Organization (WHO). Critical concentrations for rifampicin have been lowered while those for isoniazid have been maintained at the present level. This update helps address the discordance observed between phenotypic and molecular methods to detect rifampicin resistance and improves the accuracy of DST. As a result patients with TB will have a more accurate diagnosis.
The revision was the outcome of a Technical Expert Group meeting convened by WHO in 2020 to assess the results of a systematic review of published literature on critical concentrations for DST of the most important first-line anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and the rifamycins (rifampicin, rifabutin and rifapentine). New evidence showed that critical concentrations used for phenotypic methods to detect rifampicin resistance may incorrectly classify strains with certain mutations. The following media were considered: Löwenstein-Jensen (LJ), Middlebrook 7H10 (7H10), Middlebrook 7H11 (7H11) and BACTEC™ Mycobacterial Growth Indicator Tube™ 960 (MGIT).
Guidance has been provided to resolve discordance between genotypic and phenotypic results for these drugs and areas for further research have been highlighted. The full report is available here.
DST methods continue to have a very important role to identify resistance not detected by molecular assays and to support the interpretation of molecular assays results. However, they require sophisticated laboratory infrastructure, qualified staff and strict quality assurance procedures.
The Clinical Management of Patients with COVID-19 course series is developed for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides crucial knowledge necessary to provide safe, effective quality patient care. Presentations address all aspects of clinical management, including facility preparation and surge planning; health worker infection prevention and control; interfacility transfer; clinical management of mild, moderate, and severely ill patients with COVID-19; special considerations for geriatric, pregnant, and pediatric patients with COVID-19; rehabilitation; and ethics and palliative care.
The course series consists of 6 courses, which include video lectures and downloadable presentations that have been updated with the latest guidance and evidence. Each course contains 5-8 modules, and each module includes a quiz to evaluate knowledge acquisition.
The sixth course of the Clinical Management of Patients with COVID-19 course series is devoted to the rehabilitation of patients with COVID-19. The seven course modules address the manifold and varied rehabilitation needs of patients recovering from COVID-19, including patients with cognitive impairment, physical deconditioning and weakness, respiratory impairment, swallow impairment, communication impairment and challenges in completing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Techniques for rehabilitation also are addressed.- Access the course
Information for School Nurses and Other Healthcare Personnel (HCP) Working in Schools and Child Care Settings
Sequencing of the virus by CDC revealed it is similar to A (H3N2) viruses circulating in swine in the mid-western United States during 2019-2020. Viruses related to this A (H3N2)v virus were previously circulating as human seasonal A (H3N2) viruses until around 2010-2011 when they entered the USA swine population. Thus, past vaccination or infection with human seasonal A (H3N2) virus is likely to offer some protection in humans.
The World Health Organization's second call for entries to its Health for All Film Festival has received 1 175 submissions from 110 countries. More than 40% of the short films feature themes related to COVID-19, revealing the pandemic's pervasive and universal consequences.
Entries came from such countries as Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Uganda.
Launched in 2020, the festival aims to nurture a new generation of film and video innovators focused on health topics. WHO engaged with independent film-makers, production companies, NGOs, communities, students, and film schools, to ensure a diverse range of entries.
“Telling stories is as old as human civilization. It helps to inspire, motivate, build empathy and share problems so we can find and share solutions together. Everything WHO does is about stories because everything we do is about people. We’re excited about the quantity and quality of entries in this year’s Health for All Film Festival. Ultimately, we hope the festival is not just a way to tell stories, but to change the arc of people’s stories around the world, towards better health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Three GRAND PRIX will be awarded in May 2021 for each of the following categories, which are aligned with WHO’s global goals for public health:
- • Universal health coverage (UHC): films about mental health, non-communicable diseases, major communicable diseases, innovative health services and other UHC stories not part of emergencies;
- • Health emergencies: films about health emergencies, such as COVID-19 and Ebola, as well as health responses in the context of humanitarian crises and conflict-affected settings;
- • Better health and well-being: films about environmental and social determinants of health, such as nutrition, sanitation, pollution, and/or films about health promotion or health education.
WHO also plans to award three special prizes: a student-produced film, a health educational film aimed at youth, and a short video designed exclusively for social media platforms.
Entries can include short documentaries or fiction films (3 to 8 minutes in length) or animation films (1 to 5 minutes).
The composition of the Festival jury will be announced in the coming weeks and will include a number of critically-acclaimed artists from the film and music industries, along with WHO experts. The jury will recommend winners to WHO’s Director-General, who will make the final decision. Initial short lists for each category, comprising 15 films per category, will be announced in March.
Richard Curtis, film director and writer from the United Kingdom, who was a member of the 2020 jury, said: "Being a Juror for the Health For All Film Festival was a deeply satisfying job -- so many subjects I knew nothing about suddenly coming to life in the work of some remarkable film-makers. And the actual judgement day was gripping -- really varied and passionate points of view from everyone on the panel. It was a real pleasure and a real privilege."
Wagner Moura, an actor and film director from Brazil, who was also among the jurors in the first edition of the Festival, said: "It was truly an honour for me to participate. The films that I have seen educated me a lot about different health issues around the world, and I want to encourage all persons concerned to keep doing these films, to keep talking about your communities, to keep exposing the vulnerabilities of the communities that you filmed. This is the perfect moment to praise the work of volunteers, of doctors, of health sector workers, that have sacrificed their lives for the sake of the most vulnerable ones."