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WHO Director-General commends United States decision to support temporary waiver on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines



Geneva E. Vucci 

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the commitment by the United States administration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris to support the temporary waiver of intellectual property on COVID-19 vaccines in a bold move to end the pandemic as quickly as possible.

“This is a monumental moment in the fight against COVID-19. The commitment by the President of the United States Joe Biden and Ambassador Katherine Tai, the US Trade Representative, to support the waiver of IP protections on vaccines is a powerful example of American leadership to address global health challenges,” said Dr Tedros.

“I commend the United States on its historic decision for vaccine equity and prioritizing the well-being of all people everywhere at a critical time. Now let’s all move together swiftly, in solidarity, building on the ingenuity and commitment of scientists who produced life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”

On Wednesday, Ambassador Tai issued a statement saying the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic required extraordinary measures to respond and that the waiving of intellectual property protections on vaccines was needed to help end the pandemic. The United States would, the statement continued, participate in World Trade Organization negotiations to support the temporary waiving of protections, and work with the private sector and other partners to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

Dr Tedros added: “The White House’s support for the temporary waiving of intellectual property on COVID-19 vaccines reflects the wisdom and moral leadership of the United States to work to end this pandemic. But I am not surprised by this announcement. This is what I expected from the Administration of President Biden.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has been working with partners to scale up the development and distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments through the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, a pillar of which is the COVAX Facility for the equitable sharing of vaccines to at-risk people worldwide.

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10 global health issues to track in 2021



World Health Organization,

2020 was a devastating year for global health. A previously unknown virus raced around the world, rapidly emerging as one of its top killers, laying bare the inadequacies of health systems. Today, health services in all regions are struggling to both tackle COVID-19, and provide people with vital care.

In another blow, the pandemic threatens to set back hard-won global health progress achieved over the past two decades – in fighting infectious diseases, for example, and improving maternal and child health.

So in 2021, countries around the world will need to continue battle COVID-19 (albeit with the knowledge that effective tools are evolving). They will need to move swiftly to repair and reinforce their health systems so they can deliver these tools, and to address the key societal and environmental issues that result in some sections of the population suffering so much more than others. 

WHO and its partners will be at their side. We will work to help countries strengthen preparedness for pandemics and other emergencies. We will remind them of the importance of bringing countries together and of involving the whole government, not just the health sector. And we will support them in building strong health systems and healthy populations  

WHO will work with countries to improve their own preparedness for pandemics and health emergencies.

But for this to be effective, we will ensure that countries work together. Above all, this pandemic has shown us over and again, that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

We will also help tackle health emergencies in humanitarian settings that have been intensified by COVID-19. We will target support to better protect the most vulnerable communities against health emergency risks, including in urban settings, small island countries, conflict settings. 

We will leverage existing partnerships and create new ones to build a global health emergencies workforce to expand, train and standardize high-quality public health and medical assistance. We also plan to establish a Bio Bank – a globally agreed system for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples to facilitate the rapid development of safe and effective vaccines and medicines. And we will sustain our focus on getting accurate information to people, building on our work with key partners to protect populations from infodemics.

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Eating Breakfast Can Help You Burn More Carbs When You Work Out




What you should know before you hit the gym or the trails in the morning.

Eating breakfast before a workout can help your body burn carbohydrates during the sweat fest, and more quickly digest food after it, according to a recent study.

“This is the first study to show that breakfast speeds up the clearance of glucose out of the bloodstream and into muscle after we eat lunch, even when we perform exercise in-between breakfast and lunch,” Javier Gonzalez, PhD, co-author, and senior lecturer at the Department for Health at the University of Bath in the U.K, told Healthline.

What did the study find?

Researchers led by a team at the University of Bath looked at 12 male adults who ate porridge with milk two hours before cycling for an hour, and compared it to those who fasted overnight before the ride. They found that those who ate boosted the rate at which they burned carbs during the workout. Those who ate also increased the rate that their bodies digested and metabolized food after a workout as well.

“We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb, and metabolize carbohydrates that we may eat after exercise,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

The study was published last month in American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Researchers said that the carbs burned during exercise were not just coming from the breakfast eaten — but also from the carbs stored in muscles as glycogen. This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after lunch when breakfast had been eaten before exercise, he said. Gonzalez noted that previous research found rest and eating breakfast can alter the way we metabolize lunch.

Eating a breakfast high in fat, protein, or carbs would likely produce a different response, Gonzalez explained. Research has shown that a high-fat breakfast impairs blood glucose control at lunch time, which is the opposite response to eating a high-carb or high-protein breakfast. Most of the research on that was conducted when people rested afterwards, not when they exercised.

Gonzalez noted that the study was small but tightly controlled.

Both Gonzalez and outside researchers would like to find out more about the effects of fasting and eating with regards to working out on other populations, such as women, or those who are overweight and obese.

“More research is necessary before we can make definitive conclusions regarding the impact of eating before exercise has on health outcomes and our physical well-being,” Rachel Stahl, RD, a registered dietitian from New York City, told Healthline.ADVERTISEMENTWeight management options have evolved

What to eat, when to eat

Lizzy Swick, RDN, a nutritionist from New Jersey, noted that skipping breakfast can have positive effects on insulin levels, blood sugar control, weight, energy levels, and inflammation for some people.

But she noted that everyone is different.

“While the science is clear that it might help with certain populations of people, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, so I don’t advise this for everyone,” Swick said.

For people who want or need breakfast, she recommends eating a protein- and fat-based meal within one hour of waking up.

“Choose lower-glycemic carbs in the morning such as non-starchy veggies, berries, herbs, or citrus,” Swick added.

Keeping breakfasts heavier on healthy fats and protein and saving carbohydrate-rich foods like starchy vegetables, grains, legumes, and fruits for later in the day is beneficial to keep blood sugar and insulin levels lower for more of the day, she added. It can control appetite, curb cravings, and better control cortisol patterns. That can include eggs with some non-starchy vegetables and some avocado, or having whole-fat yogurt with chia or flax seeds and low-glycemic berries. People can also try a green smoothie, but don’t add honey or sugary fruits such as mango or banana.

Pea, whey, and collagen are good protein add-ins.

Instead of breakfast, you can also try a snack before working out, such as half a banana with almond or peanut butter on it, or a handful of nuts.

“Whether you are eating or not before a workout, aim to have a balanced meal or snack that contains protein within 30 to 60 minutes post-exercise,” Swick said. “Low-level aerobic activity like walking before breakfast can tap into your ‘fat-burning zone’ and boost your fat burn, and you might feel better saving more intense workouts for later in the day, if your schedule permits.”

Consume the snack or meal 45 minutes before exercising, whatever you eat, so the body has time to digest the food, Stahl added.

“If your exercise routine is lighter in intensity and less than an hour, you may want to eat a smaller amount,” she said.

A good breakfast can include oatmeal, a nut butter, and a fruit. Just make sure you use plain oats — not the sugar-laden varieties. Swap in quinoa instead of oats if you prefer that.

“I love this combo because oatmeal contains complex carbs for sustained energy, nut butter for a healthy dose of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and banana for a kick of instant energy as well as key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants,” she said.

Scrambled eggs with a veggie and avocado, or plain Greek yogurt with chia or flax seeds, along with berries, are other smart options.

“If you plan on working out first thing in the morning and are looking for a healthy breakfast, I would recommend a smaller portion of the above ideas, or a snack consisting of a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fat, and protein,” Swick said.

Smart eating is best

Dr. J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, medical director and CEO of the Minnesota Center for Obesity, Metabolism and Endocrinology, said this study adds more evidence that three well-balanced meals a day — including breakfast — is good for our health.

Those meals should include a protein, carb, and fat, he said. It also opens the door for more research to further understand the mechanisms behind how the body behaves differently when a person has, or has not, eaten breakfast. The findings need to be replicated on other populations, such as those with obesity, to see if the same results hold true.

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Eating For Better Health



These guidelines contain today’s best scientific advice on selection of foods for promoting health, preventing disease and maintaining or losing weight. These are general guidelines that apply to most healthy people. If you have a chronic disease or other special nutritional needs, contact a registered dietitian for specific recommendations.

Aim for Fitness

  • Maintain or work toward a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active every day—return fun and play to your life. Get moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.
  • Healthy eating provides the sustained energy you need to be physically active.
  • Learn to manage your stress with exercise, healthy eating, relaxation, and good coping skills.

Build Healthy Eating Habits

  • Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day).
  • Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day).
  • Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day). Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates; most of the grains in your diet should be whole grains.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and eat low-fat dairy products.
  • Choose from a variety of low-fat sources of protein — including eggs, beans, poultry without skin, seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts, seeds, and soy products. If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans-fats (such as partially hydrogenated oil) as much as possible.
  • Use vegetable oils (like olive or canola oil) instead of solid fats.
  • Reduce daily intake of salt or sodium. Reduce to less than 1,500 mg. per day if you are older than 50, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
  • Restrict or eliminate “junk food” — foods that contain refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.
  • Restrict or eliminate sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn’t put you or anyone else at risk.

To Lose Weight

  • Reduce the number of calories you eat daily. Eat smaller portions—don’t “upsize” your meals at fast food restaurants.
  • Follow the dietary guidelines above.
  • Eliminate all sugar-added drinks from your diet. You can drink 100% fruit juice, unsweetened, but limit servings to one or two a day. Drink more water.
  • Decrease the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching television.  Use your screen-free time working on hobbies, house cleaning, yard work, or engaging in fun activities.
  • Get moderate physical activity (such as walking, bicycling, swimming, or using aerobic exercise machines) for 30 to 60 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
  • Do muscle strengthening and toning exercises at least 2 or 3 days a week.

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