New studies suggest that “[d]eveloping countries with limited access to advanced health-care facilities may be in for a rough ride with swine [H1N1] flu and even countries with high-tech ICUs may find themselves pushed to the limit as their hospitals struggle to save gravely ill H1N1 patients,” the Canadian Press reports. The studies, which compare outcomes among H1N1 patients admitted to intensive care units in Canada and Mexico,” show “the death rate in the latter was more than double that seen among Canadian patients. Just over 40 percent of critically ill Mexican patients succumbed to their illness by day 60, compared to 17.3 percent of Canadian patients by day 90.” The findings were reported online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Monday.
Weeks after clinical trial results showed an experimental HIV vaccine offered some potential protection against the virus, “a second analysis of the $105 million study, not disclosed publicly, suggests the results may have been a fluke, according to AIDS scientists who have seen it,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The second analysis, which is considered a vital component of any vaccine study, shows the results weren’t statistically significant, these scientists said,” suggesting that the “results could have been due to chance and that the vaccine may not be effective,” the newspaper writes.
About 100 low- and middle-income countries could receive donated shipments of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as early as November, Marie-Paule Kieny, of the WHO, told journalists Monday, Agence France-Presse reports. “Dozens of millions of doses are being lined up following offers from pharmaceutical companies,” including Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline and MedImmune, as well as a coalition of developed nations “that have pledged to release 10 percent of their vaccine purchases for poor nations,” the news service writes (10/12).
A clinical trial of an Indian-made “modified killed-whole-cell” oral cholera vaccine “that meets WHO standards” has found that the vaccine is safe and effective in children living in parts of India where the disease is endemic, Reuters reports. The researchers, who reported their findings in the Lancet, hope to soon introduce the vaccine into other cholera endemic settings.
Tuberculosis deserves an effort as “substantial” as the one mounted against swine flu “to develop a new vaccine,” David McMurray, a TB expert at Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, writes in a Houston Chronicle opinion piece. “Since April, … nearly one million men, women and children have died from TB, compared to 4,200 who have died from H1N1 flu globally. Why didn’t you see any headlines? Because 98 percent of the nearly two million people who die each year from TB live in the developing world, in places like Kenya … Yet TB continues to be a problem in [the U.S.] as well because in an age of globalization, germs cross borders without a passport,” McMurray writes.
As epidemiologists in China continue to investigate the country’s first death from H1N1 (swine flu), Chinese health experts have called for strengthened measures to control the spread of the virus in remote regions, China Daily reports.
U.N. Appeals For $74M To Provide Emergency Assistance In The Philippines; Health-Effects Of Other Natural Disasters
Several news outlets published articles about the health-related effects in the aftermath of natural disasters around the globe: The U.N. on Tuesday launched an appeal for $74 million “to provide emergency assistance to hundreds of thousands of victims of two catastrophic typhoons that have struck the Philippines in less than…
The WHO on Tuesday continued to express confidence in the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as few mild adverse effects have been reported by patients participating in China’s vaccine campaign, the Associated Press reports. Out of the 39,000 people in China who received the H1N1 vaccine, four reported experiencing side effects such as muscle cramps and headache, according to WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl (Higgins, 10/6).
The number of H1N1 (swine flu) cases reported in WHO regions worldwide has grown by at least 24,000 in two weeks to cross the 340,000 mark since the virus was first detected in mid-April, the CDC reported Monday, according to Agence France-Presse.
U.N. officials on Sunday said that the H1N1 (swine flu) virus had arrived in poorer countries, highlighting a growing need for financial assistance and H1N1 vaccines for such regions, SAPA/News24.com reports.