“An experimental malaria vaccine tested on children in Burkina Faso has shown ‘a high level of efficacy’ in protecting against the disease, a study published in” Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine said, according to Agence France-Presse. The research, which “was initially planned to study the safety and immune response of the vaccine, known by the name MSP3 … was led by scientists from the National Center for Research and Training on Malaria in Burkina Faso, the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Paris-based Pasteur Institute,” the news agency writes.
In this New York Times opinion piece, W. Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and a professor of neurology and pathology at Columbia University and a paid technical consultant on the film “Contagion,” which opened this weekend, writes about the risks of an infectious disease outbreak as portrayed in the film, stating, “Those risks are very real — and are increasing drastically.”
Candidate Malaria Vaccine Represents 'Potentially Encouraging Anti-Malaria Strategy,' Researchers Say
A team of researchers led by Stephen Hoffman of Sanaria Inc. have created a candidate malaria vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the malaria parasites, using live but weakened parasites that “represents a potentially encouraging anti-malaria strategy,” an NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases press release reports. The findings of the research, which “was conducted by scientists at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, working in concert with a large team of collaborators,” were published in Thursday’s online issue of Science, the press release states (9/8).
The U.N.’s Pan-American Health Organization, the United States and the international community “should be working with the Haitian Health Ministry to wage a more aggressive and effective effort” against the cholera epidemic that hit the country last year, and those efforts “should include not only clean water and sanitation systems but more antibiotics and cholera vaccinations,” a New York Times editorial says. “Ramping up manufacturing” of the cholera vaccine — of which there are less than 400,000 doses worldwide — “could be readily done and would have global benefits,” the editorial states.
Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Colorado State University report in the September 4 issue of Nature Medicine that “[a] potential vaccine against tuberculosis [TB] has been found to completely eliminate tuberculosis bacteria from infected tissues in some mice,” according to a HHMI press release. “The vaccine was created with a strain of bacteria that, due to the absence of a few genes, are unable to avoid its host’s first-line immune response,” the release states, adding, “Once this first-line defense has been activated, it triggers the more specific immune response that can protect against future infections” (9/4). A spokesperson for the campaign group TB Alert told BBC News, “These are interesting experiments but it is too early to tell what impact they will have on the development of a safe and effective vaccine,” the news service reports (Gallagher, 9/4).
Speaking at the 61st session of the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, on Thursday, African Regional Director of WHO Luis Sambo said “that 46 Africa member countries still had remarkable challenges to scale before meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Nigeria’s The Nation reports.
Genetic Factor Found In Link Between H1N1 Flu Vaccine And Children's Narcolepsy, Finland Institute Says
“Finland’s national health institute said on Thursday its latest research on previously found links between children’s narcolepsy and GlaxoSmithKline’s [GSK] Pandemrix vaccine against [H1N1] swine flu also involved a genetic risk factor,” Reuters reports. In Finland, where 98 narcolepsy cases have been reported following the flu vaccinations, researchers found vaccinated children ages four to 19 “had a 12.7 times higher risk of experiencing narcolepsy than those who were not,” the news agency notes (9/1).
“Mexico plans to administer the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, to all girls beginning next year, the country’s health ministry said Tuesday,” Agence France-Presse reports. Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova “said while deaths from cervical cancer had fallen 47 percent in the country over the past two decades, there were still 13.4 cases for every 100,000 women last year,” AFP writes, adding, “Cervical cancer kills about 4,200 women in Mexico each year” (8/30).
“The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday warned about a new mutant strain of the deadly bird flu H5N1 virus in China and Vietnam, saying there could be a ‘major resurgence’ of the disease,” Agence France-Presse reports. In a statement, FAO “said it was concerned about ‘the appearance in China and Vietnam of a variant virus able to sidestep the defenses provided by existing vaccines,’ adding that the new strain was known as H5N1 – 126.96.36.199,” the news agency notes. The organization said the virus, which can be spread by wild bird migration, “poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan” (8/29).
“The rotavirus vaccine introduced in Mexico in 2007 still appears to be preventing diarrhea-related deaths in children, despite speculation that years later the vaccine may not be as effective,” according to the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog. “In a letter released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report that the vaccine still seems to be successful in reducing mortality rates among children,” the blog writes, adding that rotavirus “is responsible for 527,000 childhood deaths per year” worldwide.