Also In Global Health News: Dengue Vaccine Development; Vaginal Gel Trial; Dengue In Asia; Male Circumcision In Malawi

Experimental Dengue Vaccine Enters Final Trials, Could Be Commercially Available In 5 Years

A dengue vaccine 10 years in the making could be on the market within five years, according to Australian researchers, the country’s ABC News reports. A team at the Institute for Child Health Research “is about to conduct the final set of clinical trials before the vaccine can become commercially available,” and the vaccine “is now one step away from becoming licensed,” the news service writes. The team “engineered [the vaccine] so that you can get protection from the four main strains of dengue from the one vaccination – so that will stop you getting dengue at all, we hope,” Peter Richmond, an associate professor at the institute, said (9/20).

In Clinical Trial, Vaginal Gel PRO 2000 Found ‘Safe But Ineffective’ At Preventing HIV Infection

A vaginal gel designed to protect women against HIV “was found to be safe but ineffective” in a clinical trial, Agence France-Presse reports, citing a study published online in the journal Lancet. The gel, PRO 2000, was tested in two different concentrations on 9,000 women in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The gel contains a “large charged polymer, which is intended to disrupt HIV’s interaction with targeted cells.” AFP notes PRO 2000 is “different” from the CAPRISA 004 vaginal gel, which was shown to be effective in clinical trials earlier this year and incorporates AIDS drug tenofovir into the gel (9/19). MedPage Today reports that “adherence was high” but “the incidence of HIV was much the same in both analyses” of the two different gel concentrations and the placebo (Smith, 9/19).

Dengue Cases On The Rise In Asia, WHO Warns

The WHO has warned that “some 2.5 billion people are at risk globally” of contracting dengue fever as it spreads “across Asia, with the number of hospitalizations and severe cases growing,” U.N. News Centre reports. More than 70 percent of the people deemed “at risk” live in the Asia-Pacific region. “Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Viet Nam are among the Asian countries badly affected by the disease, while Singapore is witnessing a decline,” the news service writes. High temperatures, growing population, international travel and rainfall are among the reasons Asia is seeing a rise in cases, according to the WHO (9/17).

Citing Lack Of Evidence, Malawi Will Not Endorse Male Circumcision For HIV Prevention

“Malawi will not officially promote male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy, two officials said Wednesday, citing a lack of evidence to support the practice,” the Associated Press reports. Last year, U.N. studies indicated that “universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 5.7 million new infections and 3 million deaths over 20 years.” The article quotes Mary Sheba, a “top HIV/AIDS official,” and Bernard Malango, chairman of the National AIDS Commission, who both made comments against the effectiveness of male circumcision. Marcus Low of the Treatment Action Campaign is also quoted in the piece, calling male circumcision “one of the few effective prevention tools we have” for HIV (Tenthani, 9/16).

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