“The incoming C.I.A. director, David Petraeus, ought to impose clear restrictions and prohibitions on medically oriented spy tactics so that the integrity and humanitarian purpose of U.S. health aid are affirmed and that current and future health aid operations will not be misused,” Jack Chow, a former U.S. global AIDS ambassador and assistant director-general of the WHO, writes in a New York Times opinion piece responding to reports that the U.S. used a vaccination campaign in Pakistan to help locate Osama bin Laden. Chow also recommends that Congress “investigate the Pakistan operation and determine whether agency leaders weighed broader policy sensitivities or the ethical implications of using a medical based tactic to gain intelligence.”
KPLU’s “Humanosphere” blog describes the rollout on Monday of a rotavirus immunization campaign sponsored by the GAVI Alliance “that aims to reach millions of vulnerable children in 40 low- or middle-income countries.” Rotavirus is “a major cause of the most severe and deadly form of diarrhea,” the blog states (Paulson,…
In response to Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson’s July 5 piece in which he highlighted several scientific “breakthroughs” in the search for an AIDS vaccine, Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, writes in a Post letter to the editor, “Although Mr. Gerson correctly noted that these discoveries are unrelated, he misperceived their relative significance.”
Health experts continue to react to the CIA’s use of a vaccine campaign to hunt Osama bin Laden:
“New research may bring scientists one step closer to developing a vaccine that protects against hundreds of strains of meningococcus B, the most common cause of bacterial meningitis,” according to research published last week in Science Translational Medicine, HealthDay News reports. Researchers used methods that allowed them to identify the most effective vaccine candidate, technology that could be used to develop vaccines for malaria and AIDS, the news service notes (7/15).
“More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years,” VOA News reports, noting that the WHO “says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past” (Schlein, 7/14).
“Vaccine program workers, who sometimes struggle to gain public trust and governmental cooperation in the first place, are furious about the deception” of the CIA in establishing a vaccination program in Pakistan in an attempt to gather DNA from Osama bin Laden’s family, ScienceInsider reports. “Aid workers also say that news of the vaccination plot may undermine their ability to work with the public and with developing world governments,” the news service writes (Reardon, 7/13).
Health experts and writers continue to react to the CIA’s use of a vaccine campaign to hunt Osama bin Laden:
After the Guardian broke the story that the CIA organized a fake vaccination program in Pakistan in an effort to confirm the location of Osama bin Laden and obtain DNA from his family members, several writers and health experts reacted to the situation, noting the possible implications for future health efforts.
Ronald Brus, CEO of the Dutch vaccine maker Crucell, said Haiti did not accept an offer of tens of thousands of cholera vaccine doses late last year, the Financial Times reports. Brus said Crucell offered significant donations of its Dukoral cholera vaccine, but Haitian health officials passed on the offer, according to the newspaper.