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WHO Rejects Accusations It Mishandled H1N1, Updates Worldwide Stats

WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl on Monday rejected accusations that the organization miscategorized H1N1 (swine flu) as a pandemic, calling such accusations “irresponsible,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “WHO also dismissed claims it colluded with drug companies to bring economic benefit to the industry by playing up the danger of the new H1N1 [swine flu] influenza strain,” the news service writes.

Also In Global Health News: Dengue Vaccine; Medicines For Poor; Gates New Ag Development Director; USDA Efforts In Afghanistan; Soccer And Malaria

Experimental Dengue Vaccine Shows Promise In Clinical Trial Of Adults An experimental dengue vaccine created by the drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis protected a group of healthy adults from all four strains of the virus, “bringing the drugmaker closer to providing the first vaccine against a disease that threatens 40 percent of the…

Official H1N1-Related Death Count Approaches 13,000 Worldwide, WHO Says

H1N1 (swine flu) has killed 12,799 people worldwide since the virus first emerged, the WHO said on Friday, United Press International reports (1/8). According to the WHO, more than half of the H1N1-related deaths worldwide occurred in the Americas, China Daily reports (1/9).

Wall Street Journal Examines Polio Vaccinations In Afghanistan

In a story about polio vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal examines how the Taliban and international health agencies are working together to promote oral vaccination campaigns across the country. Vaccination campaign volunteers usually bring a “single-page letter requesting people to cooperate, ‘for the benefit of our next generations.’ The letter’s signatory: Mullah Mohammad Omar, the one-eyed supreme leader of the Taliban,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Developing Countries Reassess Need For Donated H1N1 Vaccine

As the number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases in some regions of the world continues to fall, developing countries scheduled to receive donated H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines from the WHO are reassessing just how much vaccines their countries need, the Canadian Press reports. “The WHO had hoped to provide vaccine for up to 10 per cent of the populations of developing countries that wanted donated vaccine,” the newspaper writes.

GSK To Offer Scientists Access To Compounds, Lab Space To Fight Malaria

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s chief executive officer Andrew Witty on Tuesday unveiled the company’s plans to allow “free access to its library of 13,500 potential malaria treatments and devote the profits from its experimental [RTS,S] vaccine to battling tropical illnesses that beset poor countries,” Bloomberg reports (Randall, 1/20).

Also In Global Health News: Malaria Parasite; Obama’s Africa Policy; Dengue Fever

Scientists Determine How Malaria Parasite Enters Body Scientists have discovered how the malaria parasite enters the body, ABC Science reports. The researchers, who describe their findings in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, say that by better understanding the basic biology of how parasites move can help in the development…

Canada Loans 5M Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine To Mexico

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq on Wednesday announced plans for the country to loan Mexico five million doses of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, Agence France-Presse reports. The loan will help Mexico meet its innoculation demand, while the country waits for H1N1 vaccine orders to be fulfilled by several manufacturers.

WHO To Review Its Handling Of H1N1 Pandemic

Amid recent complaints that the WHO exaggerated the threat of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, the agency announced Tuesday an upcoming independent review of the agency’s handling of the pandemic, Agence France-Presse reports (1/12).