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‘Proof-Of-Concept’ Study Shows Technology Stabilizes Vaccines At Tropical Temperatures

A team of British researchers have developed a simple, low-cost method to stablize vaccines in tropical climates, which they say could help to revolutionalize vaccination campaigns in developing countries, Reuters reports. “The technology developed by Oxford University scientists and the privately owned Nova Laboratories would remove the need for costly infrastructure, like fridges and freezers that require power and can break down, and highly trained staff,” the news service writes, adding that the research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust (Kelland, 2/17).

WHO Will Meet To Decide If H1N1 Has Peaked

The WHO will convene a meeting of its emergency committee later this month to assess whether H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked, Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO’s director general for pandemic influenza said Thursday, Bloomberg reports. “While the flu continues to spread in parts of the world, notably northern Africa, eastern Europe and eastern Asia, infection activity is declining, [Fukuda] said,” according to Bloomberg (Serafino, 2/11).

Health Officials Encourage Caution, Despite H1N1 Case Decline

As the number of new H1N1 (swine flu) infections worldwide drops, U.S. health officials on Friday cautioned the virus continues to circulate and can still be deadly, Reuters reports. According to the WHO, H1N1 remains the dominant strain worldwide, but there are reports of the recent emergence of the seasonal flu in Africa and China, according to the news agency.

Early Stage Trial Finds Malaria Vaccine Promotes Immune Response In Young Children, Study Says

An experimental vaccine was found to promote immune responses to malaria in young children in Mali, Reuters reports. According to the news service, “The vaccine, which uses an immune system booster called an adjuvant from British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, targets the malaria parasite as it is actively infecting red blood cells and causing fever and illness” (Steenhuysen, 2/3).

Global Cancer Rates Could Be Reduced By 40% With Prevention Strategies, Report Says

“Forty percent of the 12 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year could avert the killer disease by protecting themselves against infections and changing their lifestyles, experts said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. Ahead of World Cancer Day on Thursday, officials at the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) released a report that demonstrates how scaling up immunization programs against the infections that cause some cancers and educating the public on prevention strategies could help drive down cancer rates (Kelland, 2/2).

Despite Improvements, Aid Delivery Bottlenecks Persist In Haiti

Three weeks after a major earthquake struck Haiti, challenges in getting aid to those in need persist, the Washington Post reports. “Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said the relief effort has escalated in recent days and will continue to do so. Emergency food aid has been provided to more than a million people in and around Port-au-Prince, but 2 million people are estimated to need such assistance, he said.

New York Times Examines WHO Process For Getting H1N1 Vaccines To Countries In Need

The New York Times examines the WHO’s role as “clearinghouse” for getting H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines to lower income nations. Though H1N1 has died down in North America and many wealthier nations “are trying to get rid of their [vaccine] surpluses,” the virus continues to circulate in regions of North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the newspaper.