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Also In Global Health News: Hunger In Pakistan; Least Developed Countries; Dengue Treatment; Nevirapine Studies

As Winter Approaches, UNICEF Estimates 250,000 Pakistani Children ‘Critically’ Lack Food

“As winter approaches on Pakistan’s flooded southern plains, thousands of malnourished children are living in dirty, spartan tents without prospect of a home, officials and U.N. workers say,” Agence France-Presse reports. U.N. figures estimate “nearly three million children under the age of five were affected by the floods,” and UNICEF estimates around 250,000 “are still critically affected by a lack of food.” U.N. World Food Program spokesperson Jackie Dent “said donations to UN funding appeals had been desperately slow and threatened the emergency operations” and that “rates of acute malnutrition are rising” (Mansoor, 10/14).

IPS Previews U.N. Least Developed Countries Conference

Inter Press Service examines commitments to least developed countries (LDCs) in advance of a “a major international conference” to be held by the U.N. next year. The meeting will address “issues of significant interest to LDCs, including aid, trade, foreign direct investment, remittances, transfer of technology, debt relief and climate change adaptation and mitigation,” IPS reports. The article quotes former World Bank Chief James Wolfensohn, who is the other co-chair of the panel, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said LDCs “lack access to basic social services and their economies, they suffer from weak human and institutional capacities, and they are acutely susceptible to external shocks, natural and man-made disasters and communicable diseases … It is no exaggeration to call this a development emergency. The aim of next year’s Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs in Turkey is to tackle it” (10/13).

Scientists’ Finding Could Lead To New Dengue Treatments, Preventive Measures

In a study, published in PLoS Pathogens, NIH “researchers determined how the dengue virus releases itself from its protective membrane as it penetrates deep inside a cell,” HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report reports. The discovery could lead to new preventive drugs or treatment measures for dengue. “The researchers plan to test various compounds to find out whether they can block this key step that the dengue virus uses to infect cells” (10/13).

Study Findings On Nevirapine Support WHO HIV Treatment Guideline Changes

“Most HIV-positive women and children exposed to nevirapine (Viramune) during the peripartum period can go on to use the drug when they need highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for their own health, researchers reported. But a significant minority will not respond to nevirapine-based treatment, even if they do not have resistance to the drug, according to two reports [here and here] in the Oct. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine,” MedPage Today reports (10/13). The authors of the second study write that both trials “strongly support the use of ritonavir-boosted lopinavir for the treatment of women and children who have had prior exposure to single-dose nevirapine” HealthDay News/ModernMedicine writes (10/13). The studies “helped influence the World Health Organization (WHO) to change its guidelines this year for the treatment of HIV infection in certain women and children,” according to an NIH press release (10/13).

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