“An experimental malaria vaccine tested on children in Burkina Faso has shown ‘a high level of efficacy’ in protecting against the disease, a study published in” Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine said, according to Agence France-Presse. The research, which “was initially planned to study the safety and immune response of the vaccine, known by the name MSP3 … was led by scientists from the National Center for Research and Training on Malaria in Burkina Faso, the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Paris-based Pasteur Institute,” the news agency writes.
Presidential Commission Report Calls 1940s STD Experiments In Guatemala 'Gross Violations Of Ethics'
“Sexually transmitted disease experiments conducted by federal researchers from 1946 to 1948 in Guatemala involved ‘gross violations of ethics,’” according to a report published Tuesday by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, USA Today’s “ScienceFair” blog reports (Vergano, 9/13).
VOA News reports on a scientific breakthrough, which researchers call a “game changer” for developing new drugs, developed at Institut Pasteur Korea [IPK], a South Korean branch of the 124-year-old French research institute that is developing new drugs to combat diseases mainly affecting developing countries, including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). “Combining imaging technology and biotechnology, scientists are now able to witness infections as they occur, in real time,” VOA writes.
Inter Press Service examines regulations related to human medical research, writing that “experiments carried out by U.S. doctors in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 using 1,300 human subjects who were infected with sexually transmitted diseases highlighted the inadequacy of controls and safeguards in clinical testing in this Central American country — still a major problem today, according to experts.”
In a systematic review published by the Cochrane Collaboration last week, researchers found that the micronutrient powder used in recent years to combat malnutrition, anemia and iron deficiency in children was very helpful in preventing malnutrition in children six to 24 months old, VOA News reports. World Health Organization epidemiologist Luz Maria De Regil “and other researchers combined the results of eight previous studies involving thousands of children,” VOA writes, adding, “The studies were done on three continents, in countries as varied as Haiti, Cambodia, and Ghana.”
Reducing Malaria Incidence Could Also Drastically Reduce Deaths From Bacterial Infections, Study Says
“Reducing the incidence of malaria could also drastically reduce the number of deaths from bacterial infections among children in Africa, a study” published last week in the Lancet found, according to SciDev.Net. “‘Children who are protected from malaria are less likely to catch bacterial infections. It therefore means that controlling malaria will give an additional benefit,’ Anthony Scott, the lead author and a researcher at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, in Kenya, told SciDev.Net.”
News Corp Australian Papers/Fox News reports that scientists in Australia have created genetically modified rice that “has up to four times more iron than conventional rice and twice as much zinc” in an effort to “provide a solution to the iron and zinc deficiency disorders that affect billions of people throughout the world.” “Rice is the main food source for roughly half the world’s population, including billions of people in developing countries across Asia, but the polished grain is too low in iron, zinc and Vitamin A to meet dietary needs,” the article notes.
Candidate Malaria Vaccine Represents 'Potentially Encouraging Anti-Malaria Strategy,' Researchers Say
A team of researchers led by Stephen Hoffman of Sanaria Inc. have created a candidate malaria vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the malaria parasites, using live but weakened parasites that “represents a potentially encouraging anti-malaria strategy,” an NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases press release reports. The findings of the research, which “was conducted by scientists at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, working in concert with a large team of collaborators,” were published in Thursday’s online issue of Science, the press release states (9/8).
Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Colorado State University report in the September 4 issue of Nature Medicine that “[a] potential vaccine against tuberculosis [TB] has been found to completely eliminate tuberculosis bacteria from infected tissues in some mice,” according to a HHMI press release. “The vaccine was created with a strain of bacteria that, due to the absence of a few genes, are unable to avoid its host’s first-line immune response,” the release states, adding, “Once this first-line defense has been activated, it triggers the more specific immune response that can protect against future infections” (9/4). A spokesperson for the campaign group TB Alert told BBC News, “These are interesting experiments but it is too early to tell what impact they will have on the development of a safe and effective vaccine,” the news service reports (Gallagher, 9/4).
The Wall Street Journal examines the use of the African giant pouched rat to detect tuberculosis (TB) in lab samples. A study published online in the Pan African Medical Journal last month found the rats are “better than human lab techs at identifying TB bacteria in a dollop of mucus,” a finding that “holds promise for diagnosing tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa,” according to the newspaper. While “[t]he rats turn up many false-positive findings of TB, so the results need to be confirmed by conventional lab methods, … [a] rat takes seven minutes to work through the same number of samples as a lab technician would assess in a full day,” according to the researchers, the newspaper reports. The rats are being trained in Tanzania by the non-governmental organization Apopo, which “primarily trains African giant pouched rats to sniff land mines for de-mining activities in Mozambique, Thailand and other countries,” the Wall Street Journal notes (Robinson (9/6).