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Large-Scale Trials Show HPV Vaccine Effective Against Multiple Strains, Could Reduce Need For Screening

“Using GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix vaccine to protect girls against the [human papillomavirus (HPV)] that causes cervical cancer is so effective that health authorities could reduce the need for later cervical screening,” according to two studies published Wednesday in the journal Lancet Oncology, Reuters reports. In a large efficacy trial involving 20,000 healthy women from 14 countries on four continents, researchers from the U.S. and Finland found the vaccine “‘offers excellent protection’ against two key strains of [HPV], particularly when given to young adolescent girls before they become sexually active” and “found the vaccine partially protects against several other cancer-causing HPV types that it is not specifically designed to target, giving protection against a group of strains that together cause about 85 percent of cervical cancer worldwide,” the news service writes.

Private Sector Companies Should Contribute To GAVI Matching Fund

The GAVI Alliance has “announced a major new initiative aimed at engaging private sector leaders: the GAVI Matching Fund,” through which “the British Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a 100 percent match of contributions to GAVI from corporations and foundations as well as their customers, members and employees,” Bill Roedy, former CEO of MTV Networks and a GAVI Alliance envoy, writes in a post on the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “Together, DFID and the Gates Foundation have pledged $130 million to support this effort, which means there’s the potential to generate $260 million for global childhood immunization efforts,” he notes.

Forbes Cover Story Profiles Bill Gates, Foundation’s Work In Global Health

The November 21 cover story of Forbes magazine profiles Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has focused its global health efforts on vaccine development and distribution, according to the article (11/21). Forbes also features an audio interview with article author Matt Herper, conducted by Managing Editor Tom Post, about Herper’s interview of Gates (11/4).

Reform Necessary To Overcome Challenges To Polio Eradication Efforts In Pakistan

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Sania Nishtar, founder of Heartfile and the recently launched Sania Nishtar Health Fund, writes that “[a]fter 23 years of commencing the World Health Organisation-led Global Polio Eradication initiative, billions of dollars in investment, mobilization of 20 million health workers and a population wide intervention in 125 countries, vaccinating more than two billion children, there are only four countries in the world which continue to harbor the disease,” and Pakistan is “a living threat to the global goal of eradicating a disease for the second time from the face of this planet.”

VOA News Program Examines International Humanitarian Aid In Horn Of Africa

The VOA News audio program “Explorations” on Tuesday discussed international humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa. The program features interviews with Kurt Tjossem, the International Rescue Committee’s regional director for the Horn of Africa and East Africa; Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy manager; and Nancy Lindborg, USAID’s assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.

Not Too Early To Consider Funding For, Distribution Of Malaria Vaccine

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, notes some of the parallels between the development of RTS,S, the experimental malaria vaccine currently being tested in Africa, and the polio vaccine, but he says “there are also some particularly disappointing ways in which the polio and malaria efforts could differ.”

Some Experts Question Early Release Of RTS,S Malaria Vaccine Trial Data

Nature News reports on last week’s announcement of preliminary results from a large clinical trial testing the efficacy of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) RTS,S malaria vaccine, writing that while media coverage of the announcement touted it as a “big breakthrough in the long campaign to create a malaria vaccine,” “several leading vaccine researchers, who are critical of the unusual decision to publish partial trial data, argue that the results raise questions about whether the RTS,S/AS01 candidate vaccine can actually win approval.” According to Nature, low rates of protection suggested by the results and “the frequency of serious adverse events, such as convulsions and meningitis,” have added to speculation about the vaccine.

DRC Government, UNICEF Campaign Immunizes 14M Children Against Polio

“Thousands of vaccination teams have traversed the vast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on foot, by motorbike, boat and car, in a campaign to immunize at least 14 million children against polio, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said,” IRIN reports. The campaign, which was run over three days beginning October 20 by the government with support from UNICEF, also provided vitamin A supplements and deworming, IRIN notes.

GAVI Alliance Brings Pneumococcal Vaccine To Nicaragua

In this post in PBS NewsHour’s blog “The Rundown,” senior correspondent Ray Suarez reports on his time in Nicaragua with the NewsHour’s global health unit for the national rollout of a pneumococcal pneumonia immunization campaign. The vaccine cost $100 per dose when it came to market in the last several years, Suarez notes, writing, “At that price, Nicaragua certainly couldn’t pay to vaccinate all its children. The GAVI Alliance, formed as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, worked to find a way to close that yawning gap between great danger to children and a life-saving medicine, between deep poverty in Nicaragua and Pfizer’s high costs.”

Reasons For Caution About Experimental Malaria Vaccine

Writing in KPLU’s “Humanosphere” blog, Tom Paulson responds to last week’s announcement of results from an ongoing clinical trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, saying, “Despite the hype and fanfare, many experts at the Seattle meeting said this experimental vaccine (known as RTS,S) actually so far represents only incremental progress –…