Also In Global Health News: Global Corruption; HIV Vaccine; Smoking; DRC Aid

Global Corruption Fight Slowing, Report Says

A new report from Transparency International says the fight against corruption worldwide is slowing as urgency to address the global economic downturn recedes, Bloomberg reports. “This year’s index, which measures the perception of corruption in a country, showed that 129 of the 180 nations reviewed scored below five on a 0-to-10 scale, with 10 indicating the least corrupt … At the bottom were countries burdened by war, lack of infrastructure or dictatorship: Myanmar, Afghanistan and Somalia,” the news service writes (Donahue, 11/17).

Virus Used To Transport HIV Vaccine Into Body May Be Behind Failure, Study Suggests

Preliminary results that suggested an increased risk for HIV infection in a vaccine trial that was ultimately halted in 2007, may have been caused by using the common cold adenovirus to transmit the vaccine into the body, according to a study published Monday online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Associated Press/Wall Street Journal reports. The news service writes, “the test vaccine itself didn’t spread the illness, the team of researchers said,” but the adenovirus could have provided HIV with more cells to infect by boosting the immune system response (11/16). “If our hypothesis is correct, then the use of an adenovirus vaccine against any disease in an area of high HIV prevalence may increase the risk of HIV infection,” Steven Patterson, lead author of the study said. Scientific American examines what the study findings mean in the greater scheme of vaccine research (Harmon, 11/16).

News Outlets Examine Efforts To Reduce Smoking In Egypt, Lebanon

The New York Times examines the challenges the Egyptian government faces in its efforts to ban smoking in public areas, through an historical look back at the public’s rejection of a 2007 law banning public smoking. The article details several reasons health officials believe the law was never enforced, and how the health ministry plans to enforce the law a second time around (Slackman, 11/15). In related news, CNN examines efforts underway to reduce smoking in Lebanon, including “a shock media campaign featuring the message ‘Smoking is eating your loved ones alive,'” that launched on November 1. The article details the contributing factors to high smoking rates in Lebanon and perceived public resistance to anti-smoking regulation (Elwazer, 11/16).

DRC Minister Thanks U.S. For $17M Contribution For Efforts To End Sexual Violence

Marie-Ange Lukiana, minister of Gender, Family Affairs and Children for the Democratic Republic of Congo, recently thanked the U.S. for its $17 million aid package to the country to help support its “efforts to end sexual violence against women,” VOA News reports. “Lukiana said the money will be used in part to attract female police officers and pay for medical and psychological help for the victims,” according to the news service (Clottey, 11/15).

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