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CDC, Surgeon General Report On Increased Number Of H1N1 Cases In Southeast U.S.

Although H1N1 (swine flu) “has waned across much of the United States, the southeast is reporting an increase in cases of the H1N1 virus, U.S. health officials said on Monday,” Reuters reports. During a conference call with reporters, Anne Schuchat of the CDC reported an uptick in the number of H1N1 cases reported in Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia (Allen, 3/29).

Wall Street Journal Examines Fundraising Efforts By GAVI, Global Fund

The GAVI Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “on Friday began an effort to raise as much as $24 billion from members of the Group of 20 nations that will test whether a major push begun a decade ago against infectious diseases can survive the global recession,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The two groups held meetings last week in The Hague with government representatives from existing and potential donor nations, according to the newspaper.

GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Will Supply 600M Doses Of Reduced-Price Pneumococcal Vaccines To Developing Countries Over 10 Years, GAVI Says

The GAVI Alliance on Tuesday formally announced that drugmakers GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer had signed off on a “10-year deal … to supply 60 million doses a year of cut-price pneumococcal vaccines to developing nations,” Reuters reports. The agreement is under what’s “called an Advance Market Commitment (AMC) which guarantees a market for vaccines supplied to poor nations but sets a maximum price drugmakers can expect to receive,” the news service writes (Kelland, 3/23).

WHO Advises Continued Use Of GSK’s Rotavirus Vaccine In Developing Countries

The WHO on Monday advised developing countries to continue administering GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix vaccine – which offers protection to children against the diarrhea-causing rotavirus – after the FDA advised doctors in the U.S. to temporarily stop using the vaccine following the discovery it was “contaminated with an apparently harmless pig virus,” Reuters reports. “Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe childhood diarrhea and causes more than 500,000 deaths from dehydration among young children worldwide, mostly in countries where vaccination isn’t common,” the Wall Street Journal writes (Corbett Dooren/Favole, 3/23).

WHO H1N1 Vaccine Shipments Headed To More Developing Countries

The WHO on Friday announced “it had delivered the first doses of H1N1 [swine flu] vaccine to Cuba, and a dozen countries in Africa would receive millions of doses in coming weeks,” Reuters reports. According to WHO spokeswoman Karen Mah, Cuba received an estimated 1.1 million doses Wednesday, and Honduras and El Salvador shipments are “en route,” according to the news service.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

Nature News Examines GAVI Alliance’s Budget Gap

Nature News examines GAVI Alliance’s multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall ahead of a donors meeting in The Hague March 25-26. The meeting, which marks “the first time that the global-health partnership, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has brought together all of its major donors — countries and philanthropic organizations — at a single fund-raising event,” also demonstrates “the current woes at the organization, which since its creation in 2000 has taken vaccination rates in low-income countries to record highs,” the news service writes.

Also In Global Health News: Vaccine Suspension; E. Africa Food Security; GMOs; Somali President Responds; China’s Food Security

WHO Suspends Distribution, Purchase Of Pentavalent Vaccine A WHO spokeswoman announced Wednesday that the agency “has suspended the distribution and purchase of the Shan5 vaccine, produced by Sanofi-Aventis’s Indian unit Shantha Biotechnics, pending a quality investigation,” after several reports of white sediment on the walls of the vaccine vials, the…

GAVI Calls Meeting With Existing, Potential Donors

The GAVI Alliance has “asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to ‘make a strong impact’ on childhood death rates,” Reuters reports. “GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help” immunize of millions of children in developing countries by 2015, according to the news service.

With full funding GAVI “will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine” – which protects against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib – “and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea in over 40 countries,’ [GAVI] said in a statement. ‘These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015,'” reports Reuters.

“Britain last week pledged 150 million pounds over the next 10 years for GAVI’s core funding, a move the group’s deputy chief executive Helen Evans said she hoped others would follow,” Reuters writes. “This is the first sovereign donor to have made a 10-year commitment to GAVI, and that really helps because it builds predictability into funding … and actually helps to shape the market for vaccines,” Evans said (Kelland, 3/15).