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Also In Global Health News: HIV Vaccine; Chile To Provide Free ‘Emergency Contraception’; China Indoor Smoking Ban; Malaria Clinical Trials

TIME Examines HIV Vaccine Efforts

TIME features a profile on David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC) in New York City, who is currently working on a novel HIV vaccine. Ho “now believes that a traditional shot, one that relies on snippets of a virus to both awaken and prod the immune system to churn out antibodies, may not be the best way to fight HIV. Rather than expecting the body to do all the work of first recognizing then mounting an attack against the virus, why not just present the body with a ready-made arsenal of antibodies that can home in on HIV?,” the magazine writes. The article details Ho’s theory, highlights how his research helped to shape current HIV drug regimens and tracks the challenges scientists have faced in developing an HIV vaccine in recent years (Park, 1/25).

New Chilean Law Allows Free Distribution Of ‘Morning-After Pill’ In Public Hospitals

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Monday signed a law that permits the “morning-after pill” to be distributed for free in Chile, the Santiago Times reports. “Although emergency contraception is already legally sold in Chile, the new law will allow it’s free distribution in public hospitals,” the publication writes, adding that the “new law also guarantees free access to information about all legal forms of birth control … and makes sex education mandatory in government sanctioned high schools.” But the law also has a provision that would grant Catholic schools and exemption from discussing the use of condoms (Morales, 1/19).

China To Ban Indoor Smoking In 7 Provincial Capitals

China plans to ban smoking “in any indoor public spaces in seven provincial capitals,” the Canadian Press reports. Qu Yan, an official with the Chinese government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Our aim is to make 100 percent of the environment in indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free in these seven cities.” According to the news service, “Cities targeted include some of China’s biggest commercial centres – such as Tianjin on the northern coast and the megacity of Chongqing in the southwest – where smoking and breathing in secondhand smoke add to health threats from traffic, industrial waste, and polluted air and water” (Bodeen, 1/18).

Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance Might Be Extended

“The Malaria Clinical Trials Alliance (MCTA), which was due to end in 2009, may be extended for a further period to allow consolidation of the results achieved” in participating African countries, including on the most advanced candidate, RTS,S, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique/allAfrica.com reports. MCTA opened its annual meeting on Monday (1/18). Scientists from about 30 countries are attending the annual meeting, AIM/allAfrica.com writes in a second story (1/18).