“China vaccinated 4.5 million children and young adults over the last five weeks in the western region of Xinjiang in a fight against polio after the disease paralyzed 17 people and killed one of them, the World Health Organization said,” according to Reuters. This is the first outbreak of polio in China since 1999, “and scientists say the strain originated from Pakistan,” one of four remaining countries where polio is endemic, the news service writes.
The Los Angeles Times examines polio eradication campaigns in Pakistan, which is one of just four countries where the disease remains endemic. “Several factors have stood in the way of eradication,” including tribal violence, migration within the country and “an intense mistrust among some Pakistanis for the vaccines and the people who supply and administer them,” according to the newspaper (Rodriguez, 10/16).
“An attenuated, or weakened, strain of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria can be used as a vaccine to prevent or reduce the severity of trachoma, the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness, suggest findings from a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study in monkeys,” an NIH press release reports. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on Tuesday, used cynomolgus macaque monkeys in the experiment “because their immune responses closely predict those of humans,” the press release states. “If this approach demonstrates continued success, the implications could be enormous for the tens of millions of people affected by trachoma, a neglected disease of poverty primarily seen in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, according to the press release (10/10).
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on Thursday that “it is accepting nominations for the first Gates Vaccine Innovation Award to recognize, celebrate, and spur transformative ideas for achieving impact through the delivery of vaccines,” according to a Gates Foundation press release. The winner of the award, which was announced…
Fred Sawe, deputy director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Walter Reed Project HIV Program in Kericho, Kenya, and Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, report in Global Health Magazine that “[t]he Department of the Army is set to slash 73 percent of the U.S. Military HIV…
This post in the Malaria Policy Center blog recaps a Tuesday Capitol Hill briefing, hosted by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), co-chairs of the Senate Working Group on Malaria, “that highlighted research and development advancements by the U.S. military and U.S. academic institutions to develop the tools to eliminate malaria…
“With almost 30,000 cases of measles and eight deaths from the disease recorded in the European Union so far this year, a leading health official is urging doctors to do more to ensure parents have their children vaccinated with” the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, Reuters reports. Marc Sprenger, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), “said MMR vaccine coverage rates across the region are currently around 90 percent, leaving significant groups such as children or young adults unprotected,” and that “it was crucial for pediatricians and family doctors to give balanced, evidence-based information to help parents decide on vaccinations,” Reuters writes.
Chad’s President Idris Deby, alongside Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on Friday launched a three-day polio vaccination campaign at the Friendship China-Chad hospital “as part of efforts to rid the central African nation of the infectious disease,” AlertNet reports. According to the WHO, “of the 401 declared cases of polio around the globe this year, 114 were in Chad, making it the world’s worst-hit nation,” the news service writes. Polio was presumed to be eradicated from Chad, which did not report any cases between June 2000 and July 2003, but the country has experienced a resurgence of the disease since 2003, AlertNet notes (Nako, 10/1).
Maintaining Commitment Amid Promising Scientific Advances Is Necessary To Make AIDS Vaccine A Reality
In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, examines the need for continued attention and funding for additional research for an AIDS vaccine, highlighting advancements presented at the AIDS Vaccine 2011 conference in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this month. He writes, “We don’t yet have a blueprint for an effective vaccine to roll-out. But, as presented this week in Bangkok, the complex success of the RV144 analysis, combined with a flurry of advances in understanding the development of broadly-neutralizing antibodies against HIV, show that the science of an AIDS vaccine is vibrant and vital. Now is exactly the time to maintain commitment.”
In this GlobalPost opinion piece, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Husein Laljee Dewraj professor and head of the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the Aga Khan University Medical Center in Karachi, Pakistan, and Ciro de Quadros, executive vice president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and former director of the Division of Vaccines and Immunization at PAHO, examine the need for a dengue fever vaccine as Pakistan struggles to curb an outbreak of the disease that to date has killed 60 people and has infected more than 8,000. “The need for a dengue vaccine is clear,” and “[w]ithout a vaccine to prevent dengue, we must redouble our efforts to effectively treat this infectious threat, starting with improving diagnostics,” they write.