The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday announced a three-year partnership with the soccer team FC Barcelona aimed at promoting polio eradication and highlighting the importance of vaccines, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s “Seattle Big Blog” reports (Sunde, 7/28).
“There are few ideas as powerful as the eradication of a human disease. But the euphoria around the world’s single success to date â€“ that of smallpox â€“ has led to ever more costly efforts to do the same for polio. World leaders need either to radically step up their commitment or have the courage to abandon the goal explicitly,” a Financial Times editorial states.
An independent group of health experts, formed last year at the request of the WHO, on Wednesday warned that the world is not on track to eradicate polio by the end of 2012, the Associated Press reports.
“Vaccine program workers, who sometimes struggle to gain public trust and governmental cooperation in the first place, are furious about the deception” of the CIA in establishing a vaccination program in Pakistan in an attempt to gather DNA from Osama bin Laden’s family, ScienceInsider reports. “Aid workers also say that news of the vaccination plot may undermine their ability to work with the public and with developing world governments,” the news service writes (Reardon, 7/13).
Health experts and writers continue to react to the CIA’s use of a vaccine campaign to hunt Osama bin Laden:
After the Guardian broke the story that the CIA organized a fake vaccination program in Pakistan in an effort to confirm the location of Osama bin Laden and obtain DNA from his family members, several writers and health experts reacted to the situation, noting the possible implications for future health efforts.
Pakistan has reported the first case of the type-3 wild poliovirus in six months, raising concerns that the disease may spread to other parts of Asia and beyond, the WHO said on Thursday, Bloomberg/San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Confirmation of continuation of WPV3 transmission in tribal areas of Pakistan has significant implications for the global effort to eradicate WPV3, particularly as Asia is on the verge of eliminating circulation of this strain,” the WHO said on its website.
“Scientists, health workers and community outreach officials in India believe they’re finally on the cusp of a major milestone, the defeat of polio throughout the country,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
President Barack Obama met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Deauville, France, ahead of the G8 summit, ABC News’ “Political Punch” blog reports.
The May 26 issue of Nature explores vaccines, which the journal says “are responsible for some of the world’s greatest public health triumphs.” Though new vaccines for deadly diseases have been developed in the past 10 years, and more are in development, “funding is tight, and unfounded doubts about the safety of vaccines persist.” The issue features stories on polio, measles, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as issues surrounding vaccine rejection and hysteria about risk (5/26).