The American medical and medical-tech companies working to help victims of the emergency drought

Tens of thousands of people are trapped in famine-stricken areas in Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Nearly three-quarters of them are children. Despite working with some of the world’s biggest nonprofits, donors, the…

The American medical and medical-tech companies working to help victims of the emergency drought

Tens of thousands of people are trapped in famine-stricken areas in Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Nearly three-quarters of them are children. Despite working with some of the world’s biggest nonprofits, donors, the U.S. government and governments around the world, they’re running out of time.

As part of the humanitarian response to the crisis, the U.S. government is boosting its stockpile of lifesaving medicines and vaccines.

Civitas Medical, a new company, is making a protein called covid boost, the only approved treatment for cholera in over a dozen countries. It’s designed to be given intravenously, increasing the odds that these patients can survive.

Civitas began producing it at its facility in Plano, Texas, last year and has started buying vials from wholesalers.

Some governments, however, are facing delays. The Swiss government has twice delayed shipments of the vaccine because they could not source the chemicals and vaccines necessary to make the shots.

That hasn’t stopped Switzerland’s plans to give the emergency shots. It was the third-largest donor of the UN’s cholera response in 2017 and has an agreement with the World Health Organization to supply 130 million doses of vaccines to Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen.

Switzerland will continue to import the vaccine until it reaches 80% coverage — which it is not currently able to reach.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis says in a report to Congress that there is an “emerging cholera epidemic in Somalia and South Sudan,” with thousands of deaths and millions of people now facing famine.

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