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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.”

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.”

New Study Lessens Concerns About Dengue Vaccine Production Costs

“Research funded by the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) involving an economic analysis of producing a tetravalent dengue vaccine shows that the cost could be as low as $0.20 per dose with an annual production level of 60 million doses packaged in 10-dose vials,” a Sabin Vaccine Institute press release reports. The study, published in the July 6 issue of the journal Vaccine, “used data on a vaccine developed by U.S. NIH and the facilities of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo, Brazil,” the press release notes, adding the findings “should provide confidence to ministries of health that they can aggressively plan for the inclusion of dengue vaccine in their immunization programs, as the vaccine should be available at a cost that even middle-income and developing countries can afford” (6/27).

Also In Global Health News: African Bank Donates To Global Fund; Dengue-Blocking Mosquitoes; Maternal Health In Afghanistan; Leishmaniasis Drug; HIV/AIDS In Ukraine; Malnutrition In Mozambique; MDR-TB Study

Africa’s Access Bank Donates $1M To Global Fund Africa’s Access Bank “has announced a donation of the sum of $1 million to the Global Fund’s Gift from Africa” project redeemable over a 3-year period (2010 – 2012),” according to the New Times/allAfrica.com. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Access Bank’s group managing director, said…

Also In Global Health News: Health Workers In Zimbabwe; Boston Globe Examines Aid; Foreign Doctors In Haiti; Dengue In New Delhi; HIV Drug Resistance

American Health Workers Now Await Trial In Zimbabwe  Today, a Zimbabwean court released on bail four American citizens who were jailed and accused of dispensing AIDS drugs without proper licenses last week, the Associated Press reports. Six “health care workers,”  including a Zimbabwean and New Zealand national, were ordered to pay $200 bail,…

NIAID Launches Clinical Trials Of Dengue Vaccine

After more than a decade of development, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has started clinical trials to test a vaccine to protect against the dengue virus, a product researchers hope may one day “help prevent a disease to which 2.5 billion people are exposed,” CIDRAP News reports (Roos, 8/9).

PAHO Documents Increase In Dengue Fever Cases In Latin America

Countries in Latin America “are bracing this year for a particularly virulent outbreak of the mosquito-borne tropical disease” known as dengue fever, after reports show an increase in the number of cases recorded this year, Agence France-Presse reports. “The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) said so far it has logged some 146,000 cases in the first three months of the year, of which 79 have been fatal. This time last year there were some 79,000 cases of dengue reported, with 26 deaths,” the news service writes.