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Also In Global Health News: E. Africa Counterfeit Drugs; CDC’s EIS; HIV Antibodies; Measles In Zimbabwe; Agriculture In Rwanda; Recovered Global Fund Money

Groups In E. Africa Warn Anti-Counterfeit Policy Will Compromise Patients’ Access To Medicines

“East African countries risk not attaining the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on universal treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases if the region’s parliament adopts the anti-counterfeits policy and bill currently under consideration,” Business Daily reports. Several groups, including “[c]ivil society representatives, government officials and intellectual property experts warn … the proposed policy and bill would block the production and importation of generic medicines” in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, according to the newspaper (Michael, 4/5).

New York Times Examines CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service

The New York Times examines the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), CDC’s “160 elite medical detectives” who serve two-year terms “that are part adventure, part drudgery.”

“Suitcases packed, they are poised to fly anywhere on short notice to investigate outbreaks of pneumonia, diarrhea, high fevers, mysterious rashes and many other health threats,” the newspaper writes. “Since its creation in 1951, the service has become a bulwark in the nation’s defense system against disease, often acting as the public’s emergency room. Its doctors have helped identify Legionnaires’ disease, Lyme disease … stop outbreaks of diphtheria and other diseases before they could spread uncontrollably; discover the deadly Ebola and Lassa viruses; and trace paralyzing cases of polio to defective batches of the Salk vaccine” (Altman, 4/5).

Researchers Identify Antibodies That Keeps HIV From Entering Cells 

“Researchers report that they’ve gained more insight into how the body fights off HIV, a finding that offers a possible new avenue toward a vaccine against the virus, which causes AIDS,” HealthDay/MSN reports. “The researchers found four kinds of antibodies that appear to create a barrier that prevents HIV” from entering cells, according to the news service. They describe their findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (Dotinga, 4/5). In related news, VOA News examines how researchers hope studies of antibodies to HIV will help guide new avenues for HIV vaccine development (DeCapua, 4/5).

NPR Examines Measles Outbreak In Zimbabwe

NPR’s “Shots” blog reports on a measles outbreak that has spread throughout Zimbabwe, infecting 2,000 and killing 200 to date. “The epidemic, which began in September 2009, has been abetted by Christian religious sects that shun vaccination and a badly degraded health system that has fallen down on once-exemplary immunization efforts,” the blog writes. According to the piece, a measles vaccination campaign is scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe in May, however to pull it off, $8.5 million is needed, Peter Salama, chief of the UNICEF mission in Zimbabwe, said (Knox, 4/5).

New Times/allAfrica.com Examines Agicultural Technology In Rwanda

The New Times/allAfrica.com examines the development of agricultural technology in Rwanda. “The new technological breakthroughs to increase food yields, gives optimism about the possibility of feeding the ever increasing Rwandan population. The Rwandan government’s massive public investment in modern agriculture has led to dramatic yields in most [of] rural Rwanda,” the publication writes. The article looks at the factors that have led to improvements in agriculture, such as land consolidation and technology (Rwembeho, 4/4).

Uganda Government Recovers Stolen Global Fund Money

The New Vision/allAfrica.com reports the Ugandan government “has recovered sh2.3b [$1.1 million] of the sh3b [$1.5 million] misappropriated from the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria].” The misappropriation of Global Fund money was uncovered in 2005 during an audit and eventually resulted in “the suspension of the fund by the donors,” the new service writes (Mugisa, 4/3).