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Also In Global Health News: Nigerian Drug Institute Funding; Food Security, Climate Change; Heat-Stable, Nasal Vaccine Works In Mice; Task-Shifting In Swaziland; Bird Flu In Hong Kong

Nigerian Drug Research Institute Halts Research Because Of Funding Shortfall

Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), which focuses on developing traditional herbal remedies into drug candidates, has had to discontinue research after the Nigerian health ministry did not provide the full amount of expected funding and a “key grant from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases” ran out, Nature News reports. NIPRD “has already developed a potential therapy for sickle-cell disease and has encouraging results for compounds to treat malaria and tuberculosis,” the article notes. Karniyus Gamaniel, director general of the NIPRD, said the 49 million naira ($325,000) the institute received from the health ministry this year is not enough to cover its annual operating costs of 265 million naira (Ndhlovu, 11/18).

Development Agencies Join To Help Agricultural Sector Prepare For Climate Change

“Development agencies worldwide are joining forces to spend $200 million in a 10-year programme to help the agriculture sector prepare for climate change and cut greenhouse gas emissions, farm research groups said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports in an article that examines how climate models can be used to help determine future agricultural outcomes in regions of the world (Goering, 11/18). The program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which will be formally launched December 4 during the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP16), “marks the beginning of a long-term endeavor with an initial 3-year budget totaling US$206 million,” according to a CCAFS press release (11/17). “The programme will use an Australian climate model to look at how rising temperatures and rainfall changes will affect 50 major crops worldwide, including some developing world staples such as sorghum, millet and sweet potato as well as wheat, rice and maize,” Reuters AlertNet report (Goering, 11/17).

Researchers Show Heat-Stable, Nasal Vaccine Techonology Works In Mice

Researchers have developed a heat-stable, nasal vaccine for rotavirus, which kills approximately 500,000 children annually, that has proven to illicit an immune response in mice, Vaccine News Daily reports (Cohen, 11/16). The findings were published in the November issue of the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology and the “new vaccine delivery system has also been tested successfully and found to be heat stable with tetanus and is currently being tested with diphtheria and pertussis,” according to a Tufts University press release (11/16). “Lack of refrigeration combined with the lack of trained personnel, make it impossible for many to be vaccinated against standard infections, such as tetanus, rotavirus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and other diseases,” FierceDrugDelivery writes in an article that examines the challenges associated with vaccine distribution in developing countries and companies’s efforts to work around such difficulties (Lovy, 11/17). The next step is for this vaccine technology to be proven safe and effective in humans, the release notes (11/16).

MSF Report Highlights Successful Decentralized Health Care Model In Swaziland

A report (.pdf) from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) shows how the group is training nurses to take on doctors’ roles and providing community leaders with basic medical training to fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Swaziland, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (Zulu, 11/17). The fight against both diseases in Swaziland “is hindered by an acute shortage of local health staff, inadequate diagnostic facilities and by patients failing to complete their treatment, often because of the prohibitive cost of making long and frequent journeys to distant health facilities,” according to a press release from the organization. “In November 2007, MSF and the Ministry of Health introduced a decentralised, integrated and patient-centred approach to fight the co-epidemic in Shiselweni, the country’s poorest and most remote region. As a result, innovative ‘one-stop services’ for HIV and TB care are today available in 21 health facilities. The number of people tested for HIV each month has more than tripled in 18 months, reaching 1,617 in June 2010,” the release states (11/18).

Woman Diagnosed With Bird Flu In Hong Kong; City’s First Case In Seven Years

“Hong Kong has confirmed its first case of human bird flu in seven years,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (11/17). “A 59-year-old woman was hospitalized in serious condition after a trip to mainland China, the Hong Kong Department of Health said,” CNN reports. “Her illness was diagnosed as influenza A (H5), a variant of bird flu. It was unclear where she had contracted the disease. She did not have any contact with live poultry and did not visit farms while in China, Hong Kong health officials said” (11/18).

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