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Also In Global Health News: Afghan Aid Priorities; Temperature-Sensitive Vaccine; WHO Flu Preparedness; HPV Vaccine In India; Social Protection For Women

Afghan Government Tells Foreign Donors How Aid Should Be Spent

“The Afghan government wants foreign donors to focus 80 percent of the billions of dollars flowing into the country on priority projects it believes are key to pulling the country out of poverty and turmoil, Afghan officials said,” the Associated Press reports. According to the news service, government officials “lament” that much of aid money has “financed temporary programs or unsustainable projects that will not make a long-term difference in the daily lives of Afghan citizens.” One draft of a conference communique obtained by the AP said the Afghan government will propose programs to improve roads, dams and irrigation systems, increase farm production, and offer literacy training for adults. The official government priority plan has not been released, the article notes (Riechmann, 7/12).

Researchers Test Temperature-Sensitive Vaccine In Mice

Scientists have created a “temperature-sensitive” vaccine in mice, a method that they hope “will lead to a new generation of vaccines for major bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis,” Science Now reports. As described in a study published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers replaced genes in a pathogen with “their counterparts from Arctic bacteria.” As a result, the strains caused a “protective immune response in mice” but didn’t “spread to warm parts of the body where they could do serious harm.” F. novicida, the pathogen researchers used, “is lethal to mice, but when the researchers injected the temperature-sensitive strains, the animals didn’t get sick—and they were protected from an otherwise fatal dose of the unaltered F. novicida given 3 weeks later” (Enserink, 7/12).

WHO Flu Expert Reflects On Lessons Learned From H1N1 At International Conference On Emerging Infectious Diseases

One of the “most important lessons” from the world’s response to the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic was “the vital role of preparedness, from diagnostic testing to stockpiling of antiviral medications,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Sunday during an opening session of the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, CIDRAP News reports. “Preparation for future disease threats should keep moving forward, Fukuda said. ‘We need to make sure science is the basis for policy decisions,’ he said. ‘It will never be the only thing on the table, but it has to be on the table.'” CDC Director Thomas Frieden and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci also spoke at the conference, according to the news service (Schnirring, 7/12).

Study Identifies Opportunity For Low-Cost HPV Vaccine In India

A new study published in Nature Biotechnology finds that “vaccine manufacturers from developing countries may be able to produce an HPV vaccine at a lower cost without infringing on the numerous patents drug makers have taken out on the vaccine technology,” in-PharmaTechonologist.com reports. The researchers focused on India and examined 19 patent applications. The data “suggested that vaccines identical in formulation or HPV strain coverage to those on the market were not covered by patent claims granted in India.” The article includes comments from co-author Subhashini Chandrasekharan, who said that while the access to the HPV vaccine would be made easier, drug manufacturers are increasingly filing patents in India and other developing countries (Chu, 7/12).

Commonwealth Ministers Call For Increased Investment In Women

A meeting of Commonwealth gender affairs ministers “resolved that governments in [their] countries …should give women social protection,” Daily Nation/allAfrica.com reports. The delegates called for improvement in maternal health, asking for international support to “ensure that 90 percent of women giving birth are attended to by skilled health workers by 2015.” The resolution also addressed a need for skilled health workers, universal access to HIV care, and the presence of women in parliaments. “The resolutions will be presented to the high level U.N. summit set to discuss Millennium Development Goals in September,” according to the article (Shimoli/Leftie, 7/11).

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