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Recent Releases In Global Health

Blog: Chan, Shah Stress Importance Of Country Ownership Ministerial Leadership Initiative’s “Leading Global Health” blog has an ongoing series: “In the Driver’s Seat: A Series on Country Ownership of Health Programs.” The first post in the series is an interview with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, who said “If countries don’t…

Ties Between Global Health, National Security, Jobs Emphasized At Recent Meeting In Washington State

The message that U.S. investments in global health “helps advance longer term security and development goals” while also supporting a “small but growing industry with good paying jobs and world class research” was the focus of a recent meeting between officials from Washington, D.C. and Washington State, the Seattle Times’ “Business of Giving” blog writes.

HHS Unveils $1.9B Strategy To Better Prepare For Biological Threats

“Acknowledging that the development of medical countermeasures against bioterrorism threats and pandemic flu is lagging, [U.S.] federal authorities Thursday announced a $1.9 billion makeover of the system for identifying and manufacturing drugs and vaccines for public-health emergencies,” Tribune Company/Seattle Times reports. “The overhaul includes manufacturing refinements aimed at shaving weeks off the time it takes to produce pandemic flu vaccine and a series of steps aimed at more quickly detecting promising scientific discoveries and getting them to market,” the news service writes (Zajac, 8/19).

Also In Global Health News: Ebola Drug Study; Niger Hunger Crisis; WHO’s Breastfeeding Guidelines For HIV-Positive Mothers; Slowing India’s Birth Rate; Food Aid In Somalia; Transaction Tax

Treatment Administered To Monkeys Within Hour Of Ebola Infection Found To Be 60% Effective, Study Finds  “A treatment administered to rhesus monkeys within an hour of being infected by the deadliest strain of Ebola was 60 percent effective, and a companion drug was 100-percent effective in shielding cynomolgus monkeys against Ebola’s cousin, the…

Obama’s National Security Strategy Released, Includes Global Health, Food Security Priorities

“The Obama administration on Thursday released a sweeping statement of its national security goals,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The 52-page document “calls for the United States to strengthen international institutions, to heed treaties and norms, and to build stronger ties to allies, including to the emerging powers of India, Brazil and China. It says the United States needs to manage the emergence of new powers, while pressuring other nations to shoulder more of the burden of international problems,” according to the newspaper (Richter, 5/27).

5 Reasons Global Health Programs Should ‘Be Spared The Chopping Block’

“President Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney have both prioritized deficit reduction, which, of course, is a worthy goal,” former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), chair of the non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands, writes in an opinion piece in The Week. “[M]any surveys put global health at the top of the list of things to slash. That’s a mistake,” he continues and lists five reasons why global health programs “ought to be spared the chopping block.”

Rep. Sensenbrenner Sends Second Letter Inquiring About U.S. Government’s Review Of Controversial H5N1 Studies

“A senior Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives is asking more questions about how the U.S. government reviewed two controversial H5N1 avian influenza studies, and how it wrote a new policy for reviewing taxpayer-funded studies that might be used for good and evil,” ScienceInsider reports. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) on Monday “sent a letter [.pdf] to Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), asking him to clarify how the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) reached its recent decision to recommend publication of the two studies after recommending against publication late last year,” the news service writes, noting, “The letter also asks for more information on which government officials were involved” in the new policy regarding research that might be “dual use research of concern” (DURC).

Dutch Government Grants Export License Allowing Publication Of Controversial H5N1 Study

“The Dutch government has agreed to grant an export license to allow Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical University in Rotterdam, to publish his work on H5N1 avian influenza in Science,” Nature’s “News Blog” reports (Owens, 4/27). “Fouchier had to get permission first from the Dutch Department of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation — in line with E.U. regulations — because a risk existed that the H5N1 virus, as well as its research, ‘could be used for the wrong purposes,’ the Dutch department said in a statement,” according to Agence France-Presse (4/28).

U.S. Halts North Korean Food Aid After Country Launches Long-Range Missile

“The U.S. will halt planned shipments of thousands of tons in food aid to North Korea after the reclusive Asian nation’s launch of a long-range rocket, two Obama administration officials said,” Bloomberg News reports (Talev, 4/13). “Under a recent food deal with the United States, North Korea agreed to refrain from long range missile launches and nuclear tests,” CNN’s “1600 Report” writes (Yellin, 4/12). “North Korea’s rocket launch was a failed effort that nonetheless violated international law and jeopardized regional security, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said,” according to Bloomberg (4/13).