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U.S. Clinical Trials Show Single Dose Of H1N1 Vaccine Protects Pregnant Women, Children Under 10 Need Two Doses

U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.

Science-Based Health Policies Could Prevent Nearly 4M Maternal, Child Deaths In Africa, Report Says

Nearly 4 million deaths among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa could be prevented annually if relatively inexpensive, “science-based health policies” reached 90 percent of Africans, according to an African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) report (.pdf) published Monday, Nature News reports. The report, which is the initiative’s first policy paper, was released at the group’s fifth annual conference in Accra, Ghana, from Nov. 9-11.

Research Funding In Sub-Saharan Africa Needs To 'Reflect True Disease Burden'

With the disease burden of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria expected to make up less than 15 percent of the total disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by 2030, and non-communicable diseases to account for nearly 40 percent of the total in the region, “[a] revision of the approach to research and health care in SSA is therefore urgently needed, but international donors and health communities have generally been slow to respond to the changing environment,” Ole Olesen and M. Iqbal Parker of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in South Africa write in a commentary in Tropical Medicine & International Health. “Private and public funding for health research in Africa remains therefore disproportionately focused on the three major infectious diseases, whereas only smaller amounts have been allocated to confront other diseases,” they write and provide examples.

UNAIDS Director Calls For ARV Production In Africa

“Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibe Wednesday called for the production of anti-retroviral drugs [ARVs] in Africa to make the life-saving medicines against AIDS accessible to patients and boost the medicines manufacturing sector on the continent,” PANA/AfriqueJet reports. Speaking at the 16th West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Summit in Lome, Togo, “Sidibe said it was time for the continent to negotiate strong partnerships with emerging countries, including India and Brazil, to support the local production of ARVs in Africa,” the news service writes, adding, “According to [Sidibe], Africa accounts for only one percent of the medicine manufacturing sector that is expected to generate as much as $1 trillion by 2015” (6/7).

Magazine Examines Efforts To Biologically Alter Bugs To Fight Human Diseases

Pacific Standard magazine examines efforts by researchers around the globe to biologically modify bugs to fight human diseases, such as dengue fever. “Biologically altering bugs isn’t entirely new; it’s been done for nearly half a century to protect crops. … It’s only recently, however, that scientists have begun experimenting with using this technology to combat human diseases,” the magazine writes, adding, “If they succeed, they could create an entirely new way of stopping not only dengue but other insect-borne scourges, such as yellow fever, West Nile virus, and malaria. And stopping these diseases has never been more urgent.”

Experts Respond To PLoS Editorial Comparing Chagas Disease To HIV/AIDS

“Chagas disease, a parasitic infection spread to humans by insects, is not the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas, according to infectious disease experts who called the comparison,” made in an editorial published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases last week, “‘unrealistic’ and ‘unfortunate,'” ABC News’ “Medical Unit” blog reports. “Rick Tarleton, president of the Chagas Disease Foundation, said the diseases have little in common beyond disproportionately affecting poor people,” the blog notes (Moisse, 6/1).

African-Led Innovation 'Imperative' To Overcoming Health Issues On The Continent

In this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog, Carel IJsselmuiden, executive director of the Council on Health for Development Group, writes that “Africa must turn its health research into treatments for African people,” noting, “Despite large investments being made by donors in health products and delivery of health services, a large percentage of Africans still have limited access to sufficient and quality healthcare — especially in rural areas.” He notes that a “recent report, Investing in health for Africa — released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank and USAID to name a few of the partners — says average additional spending in sub-Saharan Africa of $21 to $36 could in 2015 alone save more than three million lives, 90 percent of which would be women and children.”

Dengue Fever Vaccine 'May Be In Sight,' Reuters Reports

Reuters reports on efforts to develop a vaccine for dengue fever, writing that “victory over … the intensely painful ‘breakbone fever’ … may be in sight.” Paris-based firm Sanofi “hopes for positive results in September from a key trial among children in Thailand that would set it on course to market a shot in 2015, which would prevent an estimated 100 million cases of dengue infection each year,” the news service writes, noting, “Of 20,000 annual deaths, many are of children.” According to Reuters, “Results from that clinical study, in what is known as the Phase IIb of the international standard three-stage process of assessment, are expected in the third quarter” and “will also be presented for scientific scrutiny at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta in November.”