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FDA Drafts New Rules For Testing, Approving Drug Cocktails; Public-Private Partnership For TB Treatment Development Launched

The FDA is drafting new guidelines for testing and approving multidrug cocktails for life-threatening diseases, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Many diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis and cancer, require multidrug combinations. Such drug cocktails can prevent the development of drug resistance, because the microbe or cancer cell needs to undergo more mutations to escape several drugs than to escape just one. By attacking the disease in different ways, drug combinations also improve the chances of therapeutic benefit,” the newspaper reports (Schoofs, 3/18).

Media Outlets Interview Shah During Life Sciences Conference In Seattle

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah was in Seattle on Tuesday to speak at the annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, the Seattle Times’ blog, “The Business of Giving,” reports. The blog outlines the Obama administration’s global health and development goals, including the six-year $63 billion Global Health Initiative (GHI), as well as some of the challenges facing Shah at USAID.

Former President Clinton, Bill Gates Encourage U.S. Global Health Investment At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing

Former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said Wednesday at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “that U.S. investments in fighting [HIV/]AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations save lives and play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad,” the Associated Press reports.

Congress Works On Tariff-Lowering Legislation For Haiti As Preval Meets With U.S. Leaders In Washington

The Senate Finance Committee’s chair, Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and top Republican, Charles Grassley (Iowa), are working with colleagues in the House on legislation that would lower tariffs in an effort to help Haiti’s apparel industry and help the country recover from the major January earthquake, CQ Politics reports. “The bipartisan effort comes as Senate Finance leaders consider ramping up their work to broadly overhaul multiple U.S. trade preference programs, which lower or eliminate U.S. tariffs on a wide range of products from many developing countries,” according to the publication (3/9).

UNAIDS Director Cautions Against Funding Cuts To Global Fund

During an appeal to government and private donors to pledge money to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Monday, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe warned of the repercussions tightening budgets could play in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, the Associated Press reports. “An estimated 94 percent of patients on anti-retroviral treatment in Africa count on external donor funds to provide their medications, Sidibe said,’ according to the news service. “If we stop now, if we reduce the financing, the people who are on treatment today … we will transform their hope for universal access into a universal nightmare, because they will start dying,” Sidibe told the AP.

Recent Releases In Global Health

WHO Bulletin Examines Communicable Diseases In Southeast Asia The WHO’s March Bulletin is a special themed issue focusing on communicable diseases in Southeast Asia. The publication addresses tuberculosis, cholera, neglected tropical diseases and family planning in the region (March 2010). Ahead Of International Women’s Day, Lancet Editorial Calls For Increased Investment…

Also In Global Health News: U.S. Ambassador To U.N.; Male Circumcision; River Blindness In Ecuador; Nursing Shortage In Caribbean; Maternal Health In Bolivia; Drug-Resistant TB In North Korea; Cholera Vaccine

U.S. Ambassador To U.N. In Geneva Assumes Position, Ending 13 Month Vacancy Betty King reported to her new position as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. “Washington’s Geneva mission had been without an ambassador since Warren W. Tichenor left his post on Jan.…

HIV, NCDs Impact Achievement Of MDGs, Study Says

Unequal progress in achieving U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for tuberculosis and child mortality in low-income countries is related to the countries’ burdens of HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCD), according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, Reuters reports (Kelland, 3/2).

Also In Global Health News: Halted WFP Operations In Somalia; India Food Security; Dengue In Puerto Rico; MDR-TB In Peru

Militants In Somalia Demand WFP Halt Operations “Somalia’s Islamist al-Shabaab militia ordered the World Food Programme [WFP] to halt operations in the country, accusing the United Nations agency of undermining domestic agriculture and supporting foreign troops,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (Omar, 3/1). “Even in the best years, arid Somalia is only able…

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Infectious Diseases Comments Examine Use Of Quinine To Treat Malaria A Lancet Infectious Diseases comment presents an argument for the continued use of quinine monotherapy to treat malaria in Africa. Benefits of the therapy include its known efficacy, known long-term safety, low cost and availability compared to artemisinin-based combination…