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Response Too Slow, Cautious

A new report from an independent panel says the global response to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic was too muted, Nature News reports.

It adds that during the annual World Health Assembly last year, a number of countries called on the World Health Organization to commission a review of the global pandemic response. The resulting report from the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response says the WHO was too slow in announcing a 'public health emergency of international concern,' and that had it and countries around the world moved more swiftly, the pandemic could have been averted.

"It's a frank assessment of literally systematic failure in the COVID response at every level, from WHO down to country level," Georgetown University's Lawrence Gostin says of the report at Science.

The report additionally offers recommendations to handle future pandemics, Nature News adds. For instance, it calls for the establishment of a Global Health Threats Council outside the WHO that's made up of world leaders to encourage governments to prepare for and respond to such threats. It further suggests establishing an International Pandemic Financing Facility to fund pandemic preparedness.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.