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Also In Global Health News: Dengue Vaccine; Medicines For Poor; Gates New Ag Development Director; USDA Efforts In Afghanistan; Soccer And Malaria

Experimental Dengue Vaccine Shows Promise In Clinical Trial Of Adults

An experimental dengue vaccine created by the drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis protected a group of healthy adults from all four strains of the virus, “bringing the drugmaker closer to providing the first vaccine against a disease that threatens 40 percent of the world’s population,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports. The trial found that when 66 U.S. adults received 3 doses of the vaccine they were protected against dengue. The drugmaker has since moved to test the vaccine in a larger trial, involving children (Bennett, 1/11).

Globe And Mail Examines Approach To Improve Medicines For Poor

The Globe and Mail examines a Canadian economist’s pitch to encourage drugmakers to develop treatments for diseases that afflict developing country populations. “The Health Impact Fund would see pharmaceutical companies compete for a share of a $6-billion (U.S.) annual fund, based on a drug’s ability to reduce global death and disability. New medicines would sell at cost – a low price identical for poor Africans and rich Americans,” the newspaper writes. The article includes comments by several supporters of the fund (Priest, 1/9).

Gates Foundation Names New Agriculture Development Director

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Friday named Sam Dryden as its director of agriculture development, the Seattle Times reports. In addition to his experience heading-up seed companies Emergent Genetics and Agrigenetics Corporation, “Dryden has written and lectured widely on food security and economic-development issues and served as an adviser on rural development for the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation,” the newspaper writes. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program, said of the appointment, “Sam brings a wealth of experience to the foundation – not only in agriculture, research and business, but also in a wide variety of projects related to agricultural development and public-private partnerships” (Heim, 1/8). Dryden replaces the foundation’s previous director of agriculture, Rajiv Shah, who was sworn in last week as USAID administrator, Canadian Press reports (Gordon Blankinship, 1/9).

Agriculture Development Is Top Nonmilitary Priority In Afghanistan, Vilsack Says

At a Thursday new conference, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he plans to visit Afghanistan and noted that agriculture development in the country is the Obama administration’s leading nonmilitary priority there, CongressDaily/GovernmentExecutive.com reports. Vilsack said, “We will align our assistance and our help with the agricultural framework that has been recently announced by the Afghan government.” According to the Web site, “He declined to give details on timing of the trip, but said it would be ‘soon'” (Hagstrom, 1/8).

United Against Malaria Partnership Launched Malaria Media Campaign Ahead Of African Nations Cup

“The United Against Malaria Partnership has launched a major media campaign to fight the disease on the eve of the African Nations Cup in Angola,” VOA News reports. Soccer players, “civic groups, corporations and public donors” have come together to launch the campaign. Herve Verhoosel, a Roll Back Malaria Partnership spokesperson, said the campaign will include 30-second public service announcements featuring soccer stars from African nations encouraging people to use treated mosquito nets. “We will use the power of football to communicate on malaria prevention. When a player speaks on TV or on the radio or in the press, when the player says to the young children, ‘Sleep under a bed net,’ people are listening,” he said (Bobb, 1/8).