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Potential New Malaria Vaccine Tests Poorly

Posted: January 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Potential New Malaria Vaccine Tests Poorly

A GlaxoSmithKline malaria vaccine posted surprisingly lackluster results in a Phase III trial, putting a damper on solid results from previous studies. The vaccine against the mosquito-borne illness proved only 30% effective when given to African children in a clinical trial.

Still, GSK plans to move forward with development of the vaccine. The trial included 6,537 babies aged 6 to 12 weeks; the vaccine offered “modest protection,” knocking down episodes of the disease 30% compared with the immunization with a control vaccine.

“The efficacy is lower than what we saw last year with the older 5-17 month age category, which surprised some of us scientists at the African trial sites,” Dr. Salim Abdulla, a principal investigator for the trial from the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, said in a release. “It makes us even more eager to gather and analyze more data from the trial to determine what factors might influence efficacy against malaria and to better understand the potential of RTS,S in our battle against this devastating disease.”

In 2010, malaria caused an estimated 655,000 deaths, mostly among African children, the World Health Organization says.

The Phase III trial, completed in conjunction with PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, was backed by $200 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates, whose organization commits billions of dollars to improving global health, said the study marked an important milestone.

“The efficacy came back lower than we had hoped, but developing a vaccine against a parasite is a very hard thing to do,” Gates said in a statement. “The trial is continuing and we look forward to getting more data to help determine whether and how to deploy this vaccine.”

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Controversy Over Pricey Malaria Program

Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Controversy Over Pricey Malaria Program

Health officials have clashed over the effectiveness of a pricey malaria program intended to provide cheap drugs for poor patients. In 2010, the Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria was founded by groups including United Nations agencies and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Boston.com reports. The initiative–with a price tag of more than $460 million–was tested in 8 countries. The international charity Oxfam dubbed the program a failure, saying there was no proof it saved lives because officials didn’t track who received drugs and therefore couldn’t conclude whether they reached the right patients. Story

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Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization: Epidemiology alert, May 4th, 2012

Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Health Alerts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization: Epidemiology alert, May 4th, 2012

PAHO / WHO / Cholera, May 2012

Considering the start of the rainy season in Central America and the Caribbean, which increases the risk of transmission for various diseases, including cholera, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) encourages Member States the continuation of surveillance efforts to detect the occurrence of outbreaks and implementing intervention actions to reduce cholera spread determinants.

Haiti:

With respect to the current cholera situation in the island of Hispaniola, the total number of cases in Haiti, from the beginning of the epidemic was 534,647 of which 287,656 (53%) were hospitalized and 7,091 died.

During the last three weeks, an increase of cases has been detected primarily in the departments of Nord Ouest, Sud, Sud-Est and in the capital city Port-au-Prince, Ouest department. This rise is associated with the onset of the rainy season, which began earlier than expected.

Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, the total of suspected cases reported since the beginning of the epidemic of which 17,977 (77%) were hospitalized and 399 died.

In the past two weeks, there has been an increase in cases due to an outbreak in the town of Tamboril, province of Santiago. This outbreak is associated with heavy rains that caused flooding and damage to the main aqueducts system.

Dominican Republic authorities are implementing intervention measures to control this situation.

Source: PAHO / Cholera, May 4 th , 2012