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European Alliance for Personalised Medicine

EAPM – Bilateral vaccine deals in sharp focus, billions spent on vaccines

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Hello, health colleagues, and welcome to the first European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) update of the week, the first of many, for the many weeks ahead in 2021, which I am sure we are all hoping will be a far better year than its predecessor. Health and health policy don’t wait, so on with the show, writes EAPM Executive Director Dr. Denis Horgan.

EU vaccine negotiator denies bilateral supply deals

The EU's chief vaccine negotiator has said the commission has no knowledge of any individual member state signing bilateral deals for Covid-19 jabs. Sandra Gallina, the head of DG SANTE and lead vaccine negotiator for the Commission, told MEPs today (12 January) that despite media reports, Brussels had neither seen nor heard of any countries signing "parallel contracts" for the vaccine beyond the commission's own orders."These parallel contracts have been much rumoured. I haven't seen yet one. 

And I don't think I will ever see one. It's something that in my view does not exist," said Gallina, who added that the commission had "good intelligence" on what was going on in its member states.

Brussels signed advanced procurement deals with key vaccine developers last year and has secured 300m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, with an additional 300m forthcoming. The Moderna jab has also been cleared by the European Medicines Agency. The vaccines are distributed to member states based on its population size.

Gallina in hot seat

And Gallina will be under fire in the health committee today, following criticism over the EU’s vaccine deals.

The Commission has been blamed in some quarters for not purchasing enough vaccines, but, despite securing another 300 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine last week, the Commission was then under fire for grabbing so much of the German-American companies’ 2021 vaccine supply. Gallina, known for her no-nonsense attitude, will certainly have her work cut out, there is a bonus – MEPs can view the CureVac contract as of today, which Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides announced Monday (11 January). 

All MEPs are eligible to see the CureVac contract, but it’s up to the health committee to arrange access for the 705 MEPs. “The question is how to produce it, how fast to produce it. And if you had ordered more, it couldn’t have been produced any faster,” said Hanno Kautz, health ministry spokesperson. “The shortage comes from the lack of production capacity.” 

France also in MEPs’ sights

French daily Le Monde charts how in France, some hospitals don’t have enough supplies of the vaccine and how needle deliveries are being outpaced by doses of the vaccine. In fact, in France, the opposition argues that the strategy is too slow and cautious compared to its European neighbours. 

And questions about bilateral agreements are still very much in the news, with a Commission spokesperson saying on January 11 that Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides would be sending a letter to all health ministers “asking them to provide us with all the necessary transparency on the way in which they are complying with the provisions of our vaccines strategy in terms of contacts, or lack of contacts rather, with those pharmaceutical companies that we have been or are negotiating with”. 

UK spending on COVID vaccines hits nearly £12billion

The UK’s push to secure and administer hundreds of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines is estimated to have cost up to £11.7 billion so far, according to the public spending watchdog. The government has signed deals for five vaccines providing up to 267 million doses at an expected cost of £2.9bn, with non-binding agreements with two other companies set to bring total provision to 357m doses, the National Audit Office said.

Additional costs including those associated with sponsoring trials, distributing and administering the vaccines lifted the total spend to £11.7bn. In negotiating with the EU, drugmakers pursued a similar approach. Both the UK and the EU rejected requests for complete immunity. 

Commission to publish cancer plan

The Commission’s Europe’s Beating Cancer plan is scheduled for 4 February, which is World Cancer Day, said DG SANTE’s director for public health, John Ryan, speaking to the Parliament’s Cancer committee. 

Every year, 3.5 million persons are diagnosed with cancer in the European Union. It is a serious health issue that will directly affect 40% of EU citizens with important impacts on the European health systems and economies. However, with up to 40% of cancer cases being attributed to preventable causes, the scope for action and potential to reduce the number of cases in the EU is immense. 

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Everyone has a friend, a colleague or a relative who's gone through this. Everyone has experienced the same sense of sadness and helplessness. But there is something we can do – individually and collectively. At Member State's level and through our European Union. Of course, we do not start from scratch. But there is much more we can do than we are currently doing.”

Promoting our European Way of Life Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said: “Cancer concerns us all, in one way or another. Promoting our European Way of Life is also about values, dignity and synergies; that is what any policy on cancer should build on. The Europe's Beating Cancer Plan is a new major effort to make this happen, by opening a new era in cancer prevention and care. Together, let's shape a patient-centred Beating Cancer Plan that brings hope and life opportunities to all patients, their families and their friends in Europe. We can win this battle!” 

'Vaccine passports' give rise to discussions of ‘risk’

Following indications by lawmakers and at least one airline that vaccination against coronavirus could become a requirement for international travel, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on Monday (11 January) said mandating inoculations would be discriminatory. 

In a Reuters panel discussion where health experts also expressed a long road to global herd immunity, the head of the organization called for global prioritization of “vulnerable groups,” and admonished those touting potential vaccine requirements for a return to travel. “We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” WTTC chief executive Gloria Guevara said in the Reuters video panel. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”

 Belgium is in favor of a “verifiable COVID-19 vaccination certificate” on an EU or even global level. And in recent weeks, the Spanish government indicated it would implement an inverted sort of vaccine passport, by registering those who refused the vaccine and sharing the data with other European partners. France has a similar plan, but with limits on how long that data is stored and specifying which authorities can access it, its data protection regulator believes it can adhere to privacy rules.

Countries join rescEU

Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia have all become host countries for rescEU — joining Denmark, Germany, Greece, Romania, Hungary and Sweden. RescEU supplies include over 65 million medical masks and 280 million pairs of medical gloves. In an announcement on 11 January, the Commission said that Germany had also added a second medical reserve. 

And that is all from EAPM for now, have an excellent week, stay safe and well, see you soon.

European Alliance for Personalised Medicine

EAPM: The blood is the life – key work on blood cancers needed with respect to the upcoming European Beating Cancer Plan

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Good afternoon, and welcome to the second update of the week from the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM). With the upcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (scheduled for its formal launch on 3 or 4 February, depending on whether DG SANTE or the Commission are correct in their predictions), health discussions will inevitably turn to how the noble aim of the campaign is likely to be achieved, and EAPM Executive Director Dr. Denis Horgan turns his particular attention to cancers of the blood. 

Beating blood cancers

Over the years, the EAPM has worked extensively with its members, particularly the European Haematology Association as well as the relevant patient organizations focus on the need for continual work towards reducing and combating the prevalence of blood cancer Such cancers (hematological malignancies (HMs) to give them their correct moniker) are frequently overlooked and, following recent discussions, it is understood that that may not be as prominently covered as they should be.  

HMs are a heterogeneous group of diseases of diverse incidence, and prognosis, and comparison of HM incidence across regions and over time is complicated by the existence of different disease classification systems. Obviously, incidence is one of the biggest and best measures of burden in a population, serving as a vital guide to the allocation of resources.

Statistics suggest that health-care costs for each patient with blood cancer reach twice the figure compared to average cancer costs. The total cost of blood disorders to the European economy was in the region of €23 billion in 2012 and is only increasing.

Blood cancers are in the top ten of the most common forms of cancer and are responsible for approximately 100,000 deaths in Europe every year. Some of the most critical cancers are Multiple Myeloma, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, and Pediatric Hematological Malignancies.

These cancers present a serious medical and financial challenge and account for abround 40% of cancer cases in children and one third of overall cancer deaths. However, it has been suggested that the upcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is not as yet paying as much attention to blood cancers as it should.

EAPM and its key stakeholders believe that this is a gap that should be urgently addressed in the upcoming EU Beating Cancer Plan, as blood disorders are not only a burden for patients, but also for society as a whole, with around 80 million people having either malignant or non-malignant haematological disorders. We need to urgently step up how Europe tackles this and the European Beating Cancer Plan can support this common EU effort.

Transforming lung cancer care

Europe's approach to lung cancer (LC) needs a transformation in national care pathways as well as local and country policies. LC care receives high priority within only a few national health strategies. But it is largely up to the member states – incentivized by the European Union – to recognize that reorganization and reallocation of health-care resources are justified by the current massive costs to individuals and to society of the growing incidence of this type of cancer.

Improvements in outcomes are within reach but depend heavily on: 

  • A more uniform approach to national risk-based screening programmes to identify patients early and decrease the rate of patients diagnosed in advanced/metastatic stages;

  • early access to comprehensive genomic profiling;

  • the identification of most appropriate treatment pathways based on the patient’s tumour genetics through multi-disciplinary molecular tumour boards;

  • fast and broad access to most beneficial treatment options;

  • adequate monitoring of patients including patient reported outcomes that will allow for targeted interventions, and;

  • the integration of patient data to gain further insights for research, validity of clinical treatment pathways and cost-efficiency of comprehensive diagnostics and targeted medicines.

These are key issues that should be taken into account as highlighted by the multistakeholder engagement that EAPM has undertaken. 

Stop finger-pointing over vaccination and get to work, says Commission

We are racing against time, not against each other,” Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Tuesday (19 January). “On the contrary, it is a race that we in the EU are running together, as a team and in unity. As a team, it is important to set clear and ambitious targets.”

And the Commission has set vaccination goals for March and the summer, and backed a bare-bones vaccine certificate. Vice President Margaritis Schinas left the door open to using them later for travel.

Leaders consider travel bans and faster vaccine rollout 

Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel concluded a virtual meeting of EU leaders on Thursday (21 January). European leaders, struggling with a slow vaccination effort and fearful that highly contagious coronavirus variants could rapidly overwhelm their medical systems, moved to begin reimposing border restrictions and to speed the distribution of vaccines — even those not yet approved for use.

We are increasingly concerned about different variants of the virus,” von der Leyen told reporters after a virtual summit of European Union leaders, saying that although the bloc intends to keep borders open for trade, it may restrict nonessential travel. The leaders held back from endorsing a specific plan for borders.

But Germany — which as the richest and most populous EU member often drives its discussions — proposed strict, temporary bans on travel to the EU from countries where mutated forms of the coronavirus are already prevalent, including Britain. The proposal would restrict EU citizens from returning to their home countries if they are currently in an affected country, and would therefore be more stringent than previous border measures. 

The coronavirus situation is deteriorating so badly in some member states that EU leaders have agreed to create a new “dark red” zone indicating the virus is spreading at a “very high level”, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Thursday night (21 January). People traveling from a dark red to another zone could be required to get a test before leaving and might need to quarantine upon arrival. 

France to impose COVID testing on EU travellers

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has announced new coronavirus rules for travellers from the EU, with the country requiring European visitors as well as those from outside the bloc to have a negative Covid-19 test performed less than three days before they enter the country. 

The new restrictive measures, to come into effect from Sunday morning (24 January), were announced by the Elysée Palace late on Thursday and follow an EU summit by videoconference at which leaders discussed measures to control the pandemic with continuing vaccination programmes and controls on free movement. Until now, Macron had sought to maintain freedom of movement within Europe, but pressure on hospitals and the spread of new, more infectious variants of the virus have convinced him of the need to extend testing to almost all those crossing national borders. 

Hungary first in EU to approve Russian vaccine

Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V. On Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had been given the green light by the health authorities. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is travelling to Moscow for further talks, where he is expected to discuss a shipment and distribution deal.  

And that is all from EAPM for this week – have an excellent, safe weekend, stay well, and see you next week.

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EAPM makes first focus of 2021 on lung cancer

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Welcome, dear health colleagues, to the first update of the week from the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM). With the publication of the EU’s Beating Cancer Plan imminent (4 February), EAPM has a full focus on lung cancer taking place this week with its members, writes EAPM Executive Director Dr. Denis Horgan.

Screening – most effective way to combat biggest cancer killer

While there may well be any number of worthy schemes and tactics in Europe to combat the terrible damage wreaked by cancer, one of the most promising modus operandi is being neglected for lung cancer – and many Europeans are dying unnecessarily as a consequence.

Lung cancer, the biggest cancer killer, is still on the loose, largely unchecked, and the most effective method for combating it – screening – is being sidelined. Bearing in mind that screening is very important in treating lung cancer because most cases are discovered too late for any effective intervention, this will be the key issue at the heart of EAPM’s engagement this week. Screening is the use of tests or exams to find a disease in people who don’t have symptoms.

Regular chest x-rays have been studied for lung cancer screening, but they did not help most people live longer. In recent years, a test known as a low-dose CAT scan or CT scan (LDCT) has been studied in people at a higher risk of getting lung cancer. LDCT scans can help find abnormal areas in the lungs that may be cancer.

Research has shown that using LDCT scans to screen people at higher risk of lung cancer saved more lives compared to chest x-rays. For higher risk people, getting yearly LDCT scans before symptoms start helps lower the risk of dying from lung cancer.

70% of patients are diagnosed at an advanced incurable stage, resulting in the deaths of a third of patients within three months. In England, 35% of lung cancers are diagnosed following emergency presentation, and 90% of these 90% are stage III or IV. But detecting disease long before symptoms appear permits treatment that forestalls metastasis, drastically improving outcomes, with cure rates above 80%.Given the potential for such a large number of lives to be positively impacted by a timely diagnosis of early-stage treatable disease, the initiation of these programmes should be given the highest priority by healthcare institutions and providers.

The new EU Cancer Screening Scheme envisaged in the BCP should have its vision extended beyond breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening to lung cancer. The Commission proposal to review the Council recommendation on cancer screening should at last recognise LC screening. The EU Beating Cancer Plan, setting out the European Union’s strategy for cancer care, will be launched on 4 February. EAPM will be publishing a number of publications in the next weeks to coincide with this Commission publication.

European Court of Auditors assesses COVID-19 response

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has reviewed the EU’s initial response to the COVID-19 crisis and draws attention to certain challenges faced by the EU in its support for member states’ public health actions. 

These include setting an appropriate framework for cross-border health threats, facilitating provision of appropriate supplies in a crisis and supporting the development of vaccines.The EU’s public health competences are limited.   It mainly supports the co-ordination of member state actions (through the Health Security Committee), facilitates procurement of medical equipment (by creating joint procurement framework contracts), and gathers information/assesses risks (through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - ECDC). 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU took further action to address urgent issues, facilitating the supply of medical equipment and information exchange between member states, as well as promoting testing, treatment and vaccine research. 

It allocated 3 % of its annual budget by 30 June 2020 to support public health related measures.“It was a challenge for the EU to rapidly complement the measures taken within its formal remit and support the public health response to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Joëlle Elvinger, the ECA member responsible for the review. “It is too soon to audit ongoing actions or assess the impact of COVID-19 related public health EU initiatives, but these experiences can provide lessons for any future reform of the EU’s competences in this field.”

Commission calls on member states to ‘scale up’ vaccination ambitions

The European Commission will today (19 January) call on member states to scale up their ambition in the fight against the pandemic by setting a target of vaccinating at least 70% of the EU’s population by summer. According to the draft of its latest recommendations that we’ve seen, the bloc’s executive will also endorse Greece’s proposal for a “vaccination certificate” that’ll allow those who get the jab to travel. For the rest of us, all non-essential journeys should remain off limits for the foreseeable future, the Commission will say. Beyond that, the “communication” is filled with vague pledges to help boost vaccine production capacity and asks member states to do more genome sequencing to track potentially dangerous mutations. Useful as such pledges and targets may be, they can’t overcome government inefficiency in administering vaccines. 

The procedure the world uses to declare health emergencies “need to be brought into the digital age,” the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said in a report on Monday (18 January): “A system of distributed information, fed by people in local clinics and laboratories, and supported by real-time data gathering and decision-making tools, is necessary to enable reaction at the speed required — which is days, not weeks — to confront epidemic risk.” The use and scale up of digital health solutions can revolutionize how people worldwide achieve higher standards of health, and access services to promote and protect their health and well-being. 

Digital health provides opportunities to accelerate our progress in attaining health and well-being related Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), especially SDG 3, and achieving triple billion targets for 2023 as articulated in its Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW13). The purpose for a Global Strategy on Digital Health is to promote healthy lives and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere, at all ages. To deliver its potential, national or regional Digital Health initiatives must be guided by a robust Strategy that integrates financial, organizational, human and technological resources.

Vaccination certificate

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen supports the idea of a common vaccination certificate, which can be established by the EU, and issued by the member states to every person who gets vaccinated against COVID-19. In an interview for Portuguese media, Von der Leyen was asked regarding the proposal of the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to introduce a common document that would be issued to EU citizens who receive the vaccine against COVID-19.

 “It is a medical requirement to have a certificate proving that you have been vaccinated,” von der Leyen said, welcoming the proposal of PM Mitsotakis on a mutually recognised vaccination certificate. A week ago, the Greek Prime Minister sent a letter to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, calling on the European Commission to introduce a Coronavirus vaccination certificate in order to facilitate travel between the bloc.

Belgian minister demands fine for travellers who refuse coronavirus test

Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has called for a fine to be imposed on travelers who refuse to take mandatory coronavirus tests. As of earlier this month, Belgium requires people who stay in a so-called “red zone” for more than 48 hours to take a test on arrival in the country and a second test after seven days. If travelers do not comply, they should be fined €250, Van Quickenborne said. “Anybody returning to Belgium today must fill out the passenger location form … each traveler receives a code that entitles them to two tests,” Van Quickenborne said. “Our systems know who is not using these codes.”

Coronavirus variant from UK 'must not get out of hand' warns EU

Concerns were also shared during the virtual meeting of EU health ministers of a “significant under-reporting” of the new variant by member states, with the commission urging health ministries to make detection of the mutation a priority. Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn cited the UK-detected variant as he stressed the need for people to further reduce their contact with others, saying the country would not be able to lift all measures aimed at curbing the pandemic by the end of the month.

And that is everything from EAPM for now – enjoy a safe start to your week, see you later this week.

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EAPM – From cybersecurity to mass extinction, health issues reach critical mass 

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Good afternoon, health colleagues, and welcome to the second European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) update of the week, in which there are numerous key health concerns up for discussion, writes EAPM Executive Director Dr. Denis Horgan.

Dutch MEP Groothuis to lead cybersecurity bill

Dutch Liberal member of the European Parliament Bart Groothuis is set to be the lead negotiator on the NIS Directive, which is the first piece of EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity. It provides legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the EU. The Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive) was adopted by the European Parliament on 6 July 2016 and entered into force in August 2016. Member States had to transpose the Directive into their national laws by 9 May 2018 and identify operators of essential services by 9 November 2018.

The NIS Directive provides legal measures to boost the overall level of cybersecurity in the EU by ensuring member states' preparedness by requiring them to be appropriately equipped.  Businesses in these sectors that are identified by the member states as operators of essential services will have to take appropriate security measures and to notify serious incidents to the relevant national authority. 

Of course, this has an impact on health care, taking into account recent hacking issues relating to approval procedures of COVID-19 vaccines with the aim to sow distrust in vaccines as highlighted by the EU medicines agency.

Vaccine union

On Wednesday (13 January), the EPP held its online “Towards a European Health Union” conference, with three heads of major mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine companies and three commissioners.  Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas used the opportunity to declare the EPP “the health party of the European Union”, and Schinas stood by the EU’s joint purchase of coronavirus vaccines, saying: “This is a small miracle happening at the European level: For the first time, a European health union is tangible, emerging reality — not just a soundbite, not just a slogan, not just a clip. It is happening.” 

COVID-19 unlikely to strike twice but guidance should be followed, according to study

Researchers conclude that reinfection is uncommon but still possible and say people must continue to follow current guidance, whether they have had antibodies or not. Scientists from Hong Kong recently reported on the case of a young, healthy man who recovered from a bout of Covid-19 only to be re-infected more than four months later. 

Using genome sequencing of the virus, they could prove he caught it twice because the virus strains were different. Experts say re-infection isn't surprising, but it's likely to be rare, and larger studies are needed to understand why this might happen. Researchers found that those who had already been infected once had 83 percent lower odds of infection compared to those who had never been infected based on both probable and possible positive COVID-19 test results. If restricted to only positive results — where there is a high viral load and symptoms — that number rises to 99 percent. 

German health minister defends vaccination strategy 

Health Minister Jens Spahn has admitted there have been mistakes in Germany's vaccination campaign – but says everyone in the country will be offered a jab by summer. Speaking in the Bundestag on Wednesday, Spahn, of the Christian Democrats (CDU) spoke out over the vaccination strategy in Germany, which has been under fire since it began on 27 December.

"Not every decision in recent months was right," said Spahn. "We are learning from that." However, he said, vaccine production capacity limitations was the problem, not too few contracts. "That's why we have to prioritize," Spahn said."Some things could have been done faster," he added. "Of course there are hiccups in the biggest vaccination campaign in history."

However, Spahn said things will improve."We will be rewarded for our patience," he said. By summer the government believes it will be possible to offer every German resident a vaccination, he added.

Stick to EU vaccination strategy, von der Leyen urges

The European Commission will step up its efforts to help EU countries with their vaccination campaigns — Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is contacting the health ministers across the 27 member states for reassurance that they are sticking to the bloc’s joint strategy. The commission has faced criticism over the amounts of vaccine it has procured for the 27 states, with the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, being the latest to voice concern. Anastasiades has said his government is in talks with Israel over a side deal to bolster his country’s efforts, claiming the EU’s procurement was “not enough for rapid and mass vaccinations”. 

His comments followed confirmation in Berlin that the German government had struck a deal with BioNTech/Pfizer for 30 million extra doses beyond those agreed through the commission. On Monday (11 January) a spokesman for the commission declined to comment on the developments in Germany and Cyprus but disclosed that Von der Leyen was now seeking assurances from the EU capitals. 

The spokesman said: “The president has asked Commissioner Kyriakides to send a letter to all health ministers asking them to provide us with all the necessary transparency in the way in which they are complying with the provisions of our vaccine strategy in terms of contacts, or lack of contacts rather, with with those pharmaceutical companies that we have been or are negotiating with. So this letter is currently being drafted, and will be sent as soon as it is ready.” 

Vaccines: MEPs call for more clarity and transparency

MEPs welcomed the European Commission’s openness to share available information whilst also acknowledging that some questions can be better answered by member states and pharmaceutical companies. Many questions concerned possible additional national or bilateral contracts. The Commission confirmed that it is not aware of any such alleged contracts. Through the Joint Procurement Agreement, the EU has priority to deliver vaccines, which will then be distributed to member states on a pro-rata basis.

Lockdowns spread

Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn has intimated that his country’s lockdown will continue beyond 1 February, Italy has extended its state of emergency until the end of April, and the Netherlands has extended its lockdown until 9 February. Scotland is placing more restrictions on takeaway food and click-and-collect services starting from tomorrow (16 January).  On Thursday (14 January), French Prime Minister Jean Castex on announced a nationwide 18h curfew as of Saturday (16 January) and stricter measures at the country’s borders to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Anthropologist Schuller raises prospect of human extinction

In his new book, Northern Illinois University (NIU) anthropologist Mark Schuller tackles a frightening prospect that seems all too relevant in these turbulent times: Is the human species headed toward extinction? Published today (15 January) Humanity’s Last Stand: Confronting Global Catastrophe dares to ask this and other provocative questions, exploring the interconnections between climate change, global capitalism, xenophobia and white supremacy. Schuller’s work surveys the struggles of disenfranchised peoples across the globe, from frontline communities affected by climate change, to #BlackLivesMatter activists, to Indigenous water protectors, to migrant communities facing increasing hostility. Across all these spectrums, he argues that we must develop radical empathy, requiring that we move beyond simply identifying ourselves as “allies” in movements for the betterment of our planet and start acting as “accomplices”.

Bringing together the insights of anthropologists and activists from many cultures, the NIU professor’s timely study ultimately points to establishing a more inclusive vision of humanity before it’s too late.

And on that cheery note, we will leave you until next week – have an excellent weekend, stay safe and well, and join us again soon for more health news from EAPM.

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