Also In Global Health News: India Drought; NTD Research; HIV/AIDS In Beijing And African Militaries; Malaria Vaccine

Near Drought In India Is ‘Matter Of Concern’

The Observer examines the water shortage in India. “India’s vast farming economy is on the verge of crisis. The lack of rain has hit northern areas most, but even in Mumbai, which has experienced heavy rainfall and flooding, authorities were forced to cut the water supply by 30% last week as levels in the lakes serving the city ran perilously low,” the newspaper writes. Sharad Pawar, India’s agriculture minister, on Friday said the country is facing a drought-like situation that is a “matter for concern” (Chamberlain, 7/12).

Company Contributes Patented Research For Neglected Tropical Disease Research

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals will allow neglected tropical disease researchers to use more than 1,500 issued or pending patents on its RNA interference technology, Pharmafocus reports. “These will go into GlaxoSmithKline’s so-called ‘patent pool’ which is designed to help others develop potential treatments,” the news service writes. The research will target 16 diseases including: tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and leprosy (7/10).

Beijing Sees Increase In HIV/AIDS Cases

During the first five months of 2008, 501 cases of HIV/AIDS cases have been confirmed in Beijing – “an 21.9 percent increase over the same period last year,” China Daily/People’s Daily Online reports (7/10). Gay men and other men who have sex with men “accounted for 44 percent of the total, said Deng Ying, director of the Beijing Disease Control and Prevention Center,” Xinhua reports. City officials said they will scale up HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns to reach out to high-risk populations in the capital city of a country where experts estimate 700,000 are living with HIV (7/9).

Militaries In West, Central Africa Launch Regional HIV Network

“Military forces from 20 countries in West and Central Africa have launched a regional HIV network to share information on combating HIV within their ranks and communities, following the example of other military-led efforts to fight the spread of HIV,” IRIN reports. Several studies have shown that armed forces in sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of Ethiopia’s military, have higher HIV prevalence rates than civilian populations. The article includes additional information about the efforts in Ghana and Nigeria (7/9).

Malaria Vaccine Researchers Face Cultural Challenges

A Lancet world report explores some of the cultural challenges facing RTS,S malaria vaccine researchers who are testing the vaccine in Africa. “Now, more than ever, the success of the vaccine relies on the communities whom RTS,S could benefit the most –people from places that could not be more removed from the sterile chambers of western science,” the Lancet writes (Alsop, 7/11).

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