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Mass Cholera Vaccination Early In Outbreak Could Stem Spread Of Disease, Studies Show

“The cholera bacterium has undergone important mutations in recent years, causing longer outbreaks of the disease with increased fatalities, researchers reported on Wednesday,” Reuters reports. “In a package of papers published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, they said mass vaccinations should be considered as a solution even after outbreaks have begun,” the news service writes (Lyn, 1/26).

Lancet Series Examines Health Issues Facing Populations In Southeast Asia

“Southeast Asia’s 600 million people are facing a raft of new health challenges as the disaster-prone region undergoes some of the world’s fastest social change,” according to a series of papers and commentary pieces, published Tuesday in the Lancet, Agence France-Presse reports (1/25). “Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were among the countries surveyed by the journal, which called for universal health coverage especially to protect the poor,” Reuters writes (Lyn, 1/25).

Obama Briefly Highlights Foreign Policy Themes In State Of Union Address

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday “focused on jobs, budget trimming, and investment, but he also underscored foreign policy concerns and outlined an approach to international relations with ‘a new level of engagement,'” CBS News’ “Political Hotsheet” blog reports.

Merck, Wellcome Trust Back Project To Develop Improved Rotavirus Vaccine For Developing Countries

“A joint venture between U.S. drugmaker Merck and Britain’s Wellcome Trust charity said on Monday it is working on an oral rotavirus vaccine designed to be cheaper and easier to use than current shots,” Reuters reports. “Hilleman Laboratories, an India-based joint venture set up on a not-for-profit basis in 2009, said the vaccine will aim to protect against diarrhea-causing rotavirus infections and will be based on thin strips or granules that dissolve in the mouth and can be easily transported, stored and administered.”

Washington Post Reports On Administrator Shah’s Goals For USAID

The Washington Post examines plans for reforming USAID, noting some of Administrator Rajiv Shah’s comments during a recent speech at the Center for Global Development. “‘This agency is no longer satisfied with writing big checks to big contractors and calling it development.’ Those challenging words, spoken last week by [Shah], were just one part of his speech forging a new direction for an agency that has been in the backwater of U.S. foreign and national security policies for years. With little more than a year on the job, the 37-year-old medical doctor and research scientist, who once handled the $1.5 billion vaccine fund for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, criticized development programs designed to be ‘extended in perpetuity while goals remain just out of reach,'” the newspaper writes.