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New HIV Vaccine Candidates Show Promise In Monkeys

“The quest for a vaccine against AIDS is gaining momentum, with research published Wednesday identifying promising new candidates that protected monkeys against a powerful strain of the virus and that soon could be tested in humans,” the Wall Street Journal reports (McKay, 1/5). Researchers treated different groups of rhesus monkeys with several different two-stage vaccine combinations and then exposed them to a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that was different than the one used to make the vaccines, according to Nature (Callaway, 1/4).

UNICEF To Ramp Up Global Vaccination Program

“UNICEF is preparing ambitious plans to update, strengthen and vastly expand its global vaccination program,” and “is gearing up to triple its capacity over the next five years,” according to a UNICEF news story. “A more effective and wide-reaching vaccination program will also help UNICEF fulfill its commitment to reaching the most vulnerable,” the story reports (Niles, 1/3).

India’s Successful Polio Vaccination Campaign Could Bring First Disease-Free Year

“In India, a mass vaccination campaign involving more than a million volunteers reduced cases nationally by 94 percent between 2009 and 2010, from 741 to 42, and down to the single case last year,” the Guardian reports, adding, “If in India as a whole there are no more confirmed cases before 13 January, the country will have completed its first year without a new victim. And if polio is gone from India, the only countries where the disease is still endemic would be Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

MSF Publishes List Of Top 10 Stories Of 2011 About Access To Medicine

This Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) special report highlights the top 10 stories of 2011 regarding access to essential medicines, according to MSF. The list includes the findings of the HPTN 052 clinical trial, which “show that providing people with HIV treatment early not only saves their lives but can reduce the risk…

Jenna Bush Hager Reports On Family Trip To Africa To Visit Health Programs On NBC’s Today Show

In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).

UNICEF Aims To Vaccinate 1.7M Children Against Measles In DRC

A UNICEF measles immunization campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) aimed to vaccinate 1.7 million children under age five between December 19 and December 21, IRIN reports. “At least 128,965 measles cases, with 1,573 deaths, have been recorded in the DRC in 2011, and 89 wild polio-virus type 1 cases had been reported up to 13 December, UNICEF said,” the news service writes (12/21).

HPV Vaccine Support By GAVI Example Of ‘Equity In Health’

Noting that human papillomavirus (HPV) causes 70 percent of cervical cancer cases worldwide, Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former GAVI Alliance Board chair, writes in this BMJ Group Blogs post that the GAVI Alliance’s decision to support the introduction of HPV vaccine among women in developing countries “is an…

Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline To Increase Sales Of Pneumococcal Vaccines Through GAVI

Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline are increasing their sales of reduced-cost pneumonia vaccines to developing countries through the GAVI Alliance “by more than 50 percent, marking the scale-up of an international program to protect millions of children,” Reuters reports (Hirschler, 12/16).

CSIS High-Level Forum Discusses Vaccines

The Center for Strategic & International Studies’ (CSIS) blog describes the second CSIS High-Level Forum on U.S. Leadership in Global Health, which “placed a focus on vaccines as instruments of U.S. global leadership in pursuit of security and economic interests at home and abroad, in close enduring partnerships with corporations,…

Nighttime Satellite Images Could Provide Clues To Disease Outbreaks, Researchers Suggest

“The intensity of light shining from cities at night could help identify hot spots where outbreaks of infectious disease are likely to take place,” PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” reports, adding, “A team of researchers tracked satellite images of three cities in Niger and found that fluctuations in nighttime brightness were strongly correlated to measles incidence, according to results published in this week’s Science.” According to the blog, “The same tracking of nighttime light could be used for other diseases as well, the team wrote, and could help public health officials plan for emerging epidemics and predict outbreaks.”