Global Health News Round-up: Open Research Europe launches, Gambia gets vaccinations underway

This week in healthcare we’ve seen so many uplifting news stories, such as the NHS securing a trial of a potentially ‘lifesaving’ gene therapy and new funding for healthy ageing research. While we’ve also announced our Leading Healthcare Awards finalists for 2021.

But, we’ve also cast our eyes further afield to find the most interesting international news stories around the globe.

Here’s some of the latest news bites, from 5 to 12 March 2021…

First, there’s great health news from The Gambia, as the west African nation began its nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Prominent leaders within the country kicked things off to promote the roll-out. (@mrcunitgambia)

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health says it had administered over 596,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, as of 7 March. It’s estimated that around 379,000 people have received their first dose, with over 217,000 having had a second dose.

The nation has announced it will now bring forward the vaccination of more of its ‘seniors’, with those in the age group 60 to 69 due to begin receiving them from around the end of March. (Singapore Ministry of Health)

Hundreds of people in Hong Kong have been required to quarantine, after a COVID-19 outbreak at a gym. The cluster linked back to the venue, which is reportedly popular with expats, has led to over 240 people quarantining, according to Reuters. Nine schools were closed as a precaution and an entire floor of a Swiss bank was sent for testing. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, in Japan, the Fugaku supercomputer – believed to be the fastest in the world for computing speed – has become fully operational ahead of schedule. According to The Japan Times, it’s hoped it will be used for further COVID-19 research.

Last spring Fugaku, which is said to ‘perform over 442 quadrillion computations per second’, was used to visualise how droplets carry and spread the virus, despite only being partially operational. (The Japan Times)

Then it’s over to Europe, where a new ‘open access’ and ‘open science’ publishing platform has been launched by the European Commission. Open Research Europe will provide all Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe beneficiaries and collaborators with what it calls an ‘easy, high-quality’ venue on which to publish research, at no cost.

The idea, the Commission says, is to make ‘publications available in open access’ and make ‘data as open as possible and as closed as necessary’. It’s hoped that this will ‘open up’ research processes – from methods, results, data and tools, through to peer reviews – and increase collaboration, share knowledge and improve transparency. (@OpenResearch_EU / Open Research Europe)