MSF, Doctors without borders, COVID-19 Mass Testing

Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

MSF teams are directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in countries all over the world.

Our COVID-19 response focuses on three main priorities:

•    supporting authorities to provide care for COVID-19 patients;
•    protecting people who are vulnerable and at risk, including via vaccination;
•    and keeping essential medical services running.

Across our projects, MSF teams have implemented infection prevention and control measures to protect patients and staff. Having access to protective equipment, to COVID-19 tests, to oxygen and to drugs for supportive care or treatment, is essential as COVID-19 spreads in countries with little access to these tools.

Teams are also vaccinating people to protect against COVID-19 in multiple countries. We’re also speaking out on the need for equitable access to COVID-19 tools, including vaccines and treatments. 

Scroll down to read the latest news and articles from our COVID projects.

Key concerns during COVID-19

We see this new coronavirus has crippled some of the most advanced health systems in the world. This has been in countries with a social safety net, where most people have access to running water and the space to self-isolate. Our greatest concern is for when the virus takes hold in places with more fragile health systems and no, or limited, basic safety net. Other concerns we have included:
MSF, Doctors without borders, COVID-19 Oxygen Treatment

How do we supply oxygen to COVID-19 patients?

How do we supply oxygen to COVID-19 patients?

We cannot treat a person seriously ill with COVID-19 without oxygen. 80 per cent of people hospitalised because of COVID-19 need between three and 15 litres of oxygen per minute. For the 20 per cent who remain, the needs are more severe: more than 20 litres per minute.

Oxygen is therefore vital for them: without it they risk dying. But how do we give oxygen to our patients? What are the constraints of these various methods? And how do we put these systems in place in the countries where we work, particularly in a conflict context like Yemen?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, most of which are harmless for humans. However, some types can cause severe lung infections.

MSF is currently responding to a worldwide coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. We have previously responded to other outbreaks of serious coronavirus, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

While four types of coronavirus are known to cause colds, SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) can cause severe lung infections, and can be fatal. A new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, because of its similarities to the virus that causes SARS, causes the new disease COVID-19.

This new coronavirus seems to target cells in the lungs, and possibly other cells in the respiratory system too. Cells infected by the virus will produce more virus particles, which can then spread to other people, for instance by coughing. COVID-19 will be a mild respiratory illness for the vast majority of people but it has a higher rate of quite severe complications for vulnerable people (elderly and people with comorbidities), than other viruses such as flu.

MSF, Doctors without Borders, COVID-19 Five things to know

MSF, Doctors without borders, 5 things to know Coronavirus

Five things to know about the coronavirus pandemic

We’ve never seen a global outbreak like the new coronavirus disease, or COVID-19. It threatens to overwhelm health systems and health workers everywhere unless we all take immediate action. Here are five things to know about what makes this pandemic so dangerous, and what can be done to slow the spread of the virus. Simple measures can help flatten the curve of the epidemic, including physical distancing and proper hand washing.

Nanyanyiso Baloi holds her treatment regimen for pre-XDR-TB.
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MSF healthworker wearing personal protective equipment

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Access To Medicines

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Nurse checking a patient’s oxygen level inside the ward for patients with suspected COVID-19.
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

Disappointing outcome after nearly two years of discussions at the WTO

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These activities are conducted with Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine. Vaccination is voluntary.
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

German government must push BioNTech to urgently transfer mRNA vaccine technology

Press Release 1 Jun 2022
In Eshowe in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province, MSF assisted the department of health with establishing help desks outside clinics - triage points where all who wish to enter are screened using a screening tool, and possible COVID-19 patients are then referred to a separate tent for testing.
Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

MSF urges governments to reject the draft COVID-19 text at WTO

Press Release 1 Apr 2022