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Mexico To Administer HPV Vaccine To All Girls Beginning In 2012

“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).

FAO Warns Mutant Form Of H5N1 Bird Flu Poses Threat To Asia

“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 – 2.3.2.1,” 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).

Rotavirus Vaccine Still Effective In Reducing Diarrhea-Related Deaths In Mexico, Researchers Say

“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.

Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations Taking Proposals

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced this week “that it is accepting proposals for Round 8 of its Grand Challenges Explorations, a $100 million grant initiative to encourage innovation in global health and development research,” according to a Gates Foundation press release. Topics include areas of agriculture, nutrition, immunization…

PBS NewsHour Examines Polio Eradication Efforts In India's Uttar Pradesh And Bihar States

PBS NewsHour reports on polio eradication efforts underway in India’s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, which “have been the source of all the polio viruses that have crippled children in India, … one of four countries in the world where polio is still endemic, though it appears it may be on the cusp of finally halting transmission,” according to the news service.

Isolation of HIV Antibodies Advances Search For AIDS Vaccine

A team of researchers has “identified 17 potent antibodies whose discovery opened up valuable pathways in the search for an AIDS vaccine,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/17). The researchers “at and associated with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Scripps Research Institute, the biotechnology company Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, report in the current issue of Nature” that the antibodies are “capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” according to a joint press release (8/17).

Japan To Fund Polio Vaccination Efforts In Pakistan

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing approximately $65 million to Pakistan’s government to provide polio vaccination campaigns in the country, “one of the most difficult fronts against the disease as global health organizations risk missing their goal of stopping polio globally the end of 2012,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “If Pakistan achieves certain goals with the money, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will repay the loan to Japan, according to officials briefed on the plan,” according to the newspaper (Guth, 8/18).

U.K., Islamic Countries Pledge Additional Funds For Famine Aid In Somalia

During a visit to the Somali capital of Mogadishu, U.K. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell on Wednesday pledged an additional $41.5 million in aid to Somalia, to be distributed through UNICEF, BBC News reports. The funding will enable UNICEF “to provide supplementary rations for up to 192,000 people … supplies to vaccinate 800,000 children against measles … polio vaccines, vitamin A, and deworming supplies and equipment to help prevent malaria,” the news service writes (8/17). “Meanwhile, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries pledged $350 million in aid for Somalia at an emergency summit in Istanbul,” according to the Guardian.