“A group of health organizations [on Wednesday] launched a new international consortium to better prepare the clinical research community to respond to the next pandemic or other emerging health threat,” CIDRAP News reports (Schnirring, 12/7). “The International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium (ISARIC) is a global collaboration of over 20 hospital-based clinical research networks … aimed at ensuring the clinical researchers have in place the necessary open access protocols and data-sharing processes and have considered the ethical issues that will allow them to respond to rapidly emerging diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential, such as the recent pandemic H1N1 influenza and SARS outbreaks and potentially other rapidly emerging public health threats,” according to a Wellcome Trust press release.
After “President Obama threw the full weight of the U.S. government behind a vision” to end the AIDS epidemic in a World AIDS Day speech, “[n]ow the question is: How will we achieve this goal? What are the priority actions to take today, tomorrow, and years from now?” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “First and foremost, the resource commitments need to match the strength of the scientific data,” he says, adding, “It is precisely at this moment, when the potential dividends are greatest, that the world’s modest AIDS investments should be sustained.”
Wall Street Journal Examines Potential Implications Of Allegedly Fake U.S. Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan
The Wall Street Journal reports on how “a reportedly fake vaccination campaign conducted [by the U.S.] to help hunt down Osama bin Laden has caused a backlash against international health workers in some parts of Pakistan and has impeded efforts to wipe out polio in the country,” one of only four worldwide where polio remains endemic. The article quotes a UNICEF country representative, a U.S. Embassy official, a Muslim cleric, a non-governmental organization representative, a local health care worker, and an official with a provincial health department (Tohid, 12/3).
The WHO on Friday issued a measles warning for Europe, where measles outbreaks “have caused nine deaths, including six in France, and 7,288 hospitalizations,” BBC News reports. A WHO report “says there were over 26,000 measles cases in 36 European countries from January to October 2011.” According to the news service, “Western European countries reported 83 percent of those cases, with 14,000 in France alone,” and “[i]n England and Wales, there were just under 1,000 confirmed measles cases in that period — compared with just 374 in the whole of 2010.”
“Fourteen of the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean make the rotavirus vaccine available for all infants via national programs,” according to a report published Friday in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” United Press International reports. Approximately “seven million infants, 66 percent of the infants born in Latin America and the Caribbean, were immunized in 2010 against rotavirus infection — the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children, and one of several viruses that cause infections often called stomach flu,” the news agency writes. The WHO recommends rotavirus vaccination for children worldwide, the report noted, stating, “Studies from countries in this region have shown declines in the burden of hospitalizations and deaths related to severe diarrhea after rotavirus vaccine introduction,” according to UPI (12/2).
“If the momentum gained in the last few years” in fighting global diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, measles, and meningitis “is any indicator of our future trajectory, we are standing on the threshold of a revolutionary change in the state of global health,” Wendy Taylor, senior adviser of Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID, and David Cook, executive vice president and COO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), write in this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” They discuss the importance of “Product Development Partnerships, or PDPs for short,” which “are great examples of public-private collaborations [that] are starting to build deep pipelines for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.”
“A malaria vaccine could be a powerful new tool,” but “[c]ontrolling mosquitoes and diagnosing malaria remain essential. Among the highest priorities now is to develop new methods to do both,” a Bloomberg editorial states. “There is both less and more than meets the eye in the recent news that an experimental malaria vaccine cut in half the risk that children would contract the illness,” according to the editorial, which adds, “Many of the headlines that followed promised a life-saving vaccine around the corner — a prospect that in truth remains a maybe. At the same time, the trial results affirmed the benefits of a multipronged attack on malaria.”
“China’s vaccine makers are gearing up over the next few years to push exports in a move that should lower costs of lifesaving immunizations for the world’s poor and provide major new competition for the big Western pharmaceutical companies,” the Associated Press reports in a feature examining the entry of Chinese vaccine makers into the international market. “China’s entry into this field is important because one child dies every 20 seconds from vaccine-preventable diseases each year,” the news agency writes, adding that the country’s “vaccine makers, some of whom already export in small amounts, are confident they will soon become big players in the field” (Wong, 11/29).
Number Of Annual Polio Cases In Nigeria Quadruples; WHO, Government Working To Vaccinate Millions Of Children
Nigeria has reported 43 cases of polio so far this year, up from 11 cases in 2010, and the disease has spread to Niger, Mali, and Cote d’Ivoire, according to a WHO official, BBC News reports. “Polio was affecting eight northern Nigerian states — two more than a few months ago, the head of Nigeria’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, told the BBC.”
This post in the Malaria Policy Center blog summarizes a panel discussion, titled “Partnerships for Global Health Success: Spotlight on USAID,” that took place Monday in Washington, D.C., and was sponsored by Research!America. The panel, which included representatives of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, PATH, USAID, and Temptime, discussed “the achievements of…