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).
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).
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 â€¦ supplies to vaccinate 800,000 children against measles â€¦ 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.
“The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) today announced a new Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), focused on support of a collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) for the development of a new vaccine against malaria,” an IDRIÂ press release states.…
The East African profiles Seth Berkley, the new CEO of the GAVI Alliance and founder and former CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. “‘In my time at GAVI, I would like to see the vision of polio eradication and measles elimination come to pass. We want all the existing childhood immunizations and new generation vaccines, including those for malaria, TB and HIV, to be available to all children that need them,’ Dr. Berkley said,” the newspaper writes (Mwangi, 8/14).
Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith arrived in Kenya on Monday to assess and raise awareness of the famine conditions in the Horn of Africa, Capital FM News reports (Kaberia, 8/8). “Biden’s trip is the highest-profile U.S. visit to drought-stricken East Africa since the numbers of refugees began dramatically increasing in June,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 8/8).
The Measles Initiative on Thursday “announced it has helped vaccinate one billion children in more than 60 developing countries since 2001, making significant gains in the global effort to stop measles,” according to a Measles Initiative press release. “Looking ahead to its second decade, the Measles Initiative will focus on…
“India’s health minister announced Tuesday a new initiative underway to boost the country’s rate of immunizing newborns by collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies’ vaccinations,” the Wall Street Journal’s “India Real Time” blog reports.
Hundreds of parents “are defying threats of jail time by refusing polio vaccines for their children in a high-risk northern Nigerian state,” according to Muhammad Abdu Zango, Kano state coordinator of Journalists Against Polio, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports.
“The first human antibody that can knock out all influenza A viruses has been shown effective in lab mice, an exciting step forward in the hunt for a universal vaccine, researchers said Friday,” Agence France-Presse reports (Sheridan, 7/30).