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Researchers Map Immune Response To HIV, Say Findings Could Inform Vaccine Science

In research that could help in the search for an HIV vaccine, “American researchers have minutely tracked one person’s powerful immune response to the virus to see how a series of mutations led to an antibody that can defeat many HIV strains,” the New York Times reports (McNeil, 4/3). “In a study…

Editorials Discuss GPEI Polio Eradication Plan

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) on Tuesday launched its Global Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan in Washington, D.C. The new plan aims to eliminate wild-type polio by 2015 and completely eradicate the virus by 2018. The following editorials address efforts to eradicate polio. Bloomberg: The goal of eradicating polio “can…

Rapid Expansion Of Global Vaccine Campaign Against Pneumonia ‘Unprecedented’

“A global push to bring a vaccine against the bacterial cause of pneumonia to communities that need it most is ramping up quickly, expanding to nearly 60 countries in the next five years,” PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” reports. “At least three million child deaths could be prevented in the next decade through the global vaccine rollout, according to a new analysis published Thursday in the journal of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene by health experts from Children’s Hospital Boston and Johns Hopkins University, among others,” the blog states, adding, “More new research released this week by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health called the rate of the rollout and its quick expansion ‘unprecedented.'”

Push For Experimental Smallpox Drug Contract By Obama Administration Raises Questions, L.A. Times Reports

“Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433 million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work,” the Los Angeles Times reports. “Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor,” including “replac[ed] the government’s lead negotiator for the deal” and “blocked other firms from competing,” the newspaper adds.

IPS Interviews Head Of Cuban Research Team Working To Develop Dengue Vaccine

Inter Press Service interviews Maria Guadalupe Guzman, head of the Pedro Kouri Institute (IPK) Department of Virology and director of the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for the Study of Dengue and its Vector, who is leading of a team of Cuban researchers working to develop a vaccine against dengue. In the interview, Guzman discusses Cuba’s contributions to the field of dengue research, the influence of climate change on the transmission of dengue, and differences in the four strains of the virus (Grogg, 11/15).

U.N.-Backed Polio Vaccination Campaign Moves Forward In South Sudan

“Up to 3.2 million South Sudanese children have received vaccinations against polio in a United Nations-backed campaign to ensure the new country remains free of the deadly disease, more than two years after the last case was reported,” the U.N. News Centre reports. The three-phase campaign, which is being coordinated by South Sudan’s health ministry and backed by UNICEF and the WHO, will continue with additional immunizations next month, according to the news service. “Polio … re-emerged in South Sudan in April 2008, but after an intensive vaccination campaign, no new cases have been reported since June 2009,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/14).

Some Public Health Experts Raise Concerns Over Plans To Immunize Haitians Against Cholera, AP Reports

The Associated Press/Washington Times reports on a pilot project plan by Partners In Health (PIH) and GHESKIO to vaccinate Haitians against cholera, which “has set off a debate among some public health experts who question the wisdom of [the] program that will inoculate only one percent of the population and could deplete the world’s stock of available cholera vaccine, potentially putting people at risk in other vulnerable places.” The program will cost an estimated $870,000, money that some experts say would be better spent cleaning up contaminated waterways, according to the AP.

IAVI Policy Brief Examines HIV Vaccine Funding

A new policy brief from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) “summarizes data on HIV vaccine R&D funding trends originally published by the HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Resource Tracking Working Group in 2011,” according to the IAVI website. “The crucial addition of a preventive HIV vaccine to [a comprehensive biomedical HIV prevention]…

GAVI Alliance To Fund Roll-Out Of Vaccines Against Cervical Cancer, Rubella in Developing Countries

The GAVI Alliance “has agreed to fund the roll-out of vaccines against cervical cancer in developing countries, offering protection against a disease that kills one woman every two minutes,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 11/17). The group is continuing negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to lower the price of the vaccine, NPR’s health blog “Shots” notes. “By 2015, GAVI expects that two million girls in nine countries will have received the HPV vaccine,” but the shot will not be given to boys unless the WHO recommends they also receive the immunization, according to the blog (Husted, 11/17).