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May 1, 2018

Ending the pandemic threat: A grand challenge for universal influenza vaccine development

2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the most severe influenza pandemic in recorded history, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide – more than the total deaths caused by the First World War. The subsequent influenza pandemics of 1957, 1968, 1977, and 2009, though milder than the 1918 pandemic, demonstrated the potential of influenza viruses to cause excessive morbidity, mortality, and, more generally, severe disruptions of healthcare systems. Clearly, the threat of pandemic influenza is very real. Also, influenza viruses pose a significant threat to humankind, with seasonal influenza disease leading to an estimated 290,000 – 650,000 deaths each year.

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Apr 30, 2018

Cold supply for hot demand

Cold chains have facilitated the delivery of vaccines in some of the world’s poorest countries for over 40 years. Today, they are increasingly outdated and struggle to handle a rising number of vaccines.

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Apr 26, 2018

Tanzania: Malaria vaccines show positive signs

Hope of getting a malaria vaccine is increasing following the announcement by Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) on Wednesday that two of its projects had shown positive results. Preliminary findings have shown that two developed vaccines (PfSPZ Vaccine and PfRH5) have the capability of weakening malaria parasites.

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Apr 25, 2018

Pakistan pins hope on typhoid vaccine as it battles superbug outbreak

Pakistan is the first country in the world to announce it will vaccinate children against typhoid as it battles with an outbreak of a highly drug-resistant form of the disease. The new vaccine will be incorporated into the routine childhood immunisation schedule in response to an outbreak of typhoid, which is resistant to five different antibiotics.

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Apr 16, 2018

Global healthcare needs a revolution. This is how technology can help.

Finding one single missing child can be difficult. So imagine trying to find millions of children who are living completely under the radar with no formal record of their existence. This is the challenge that we in the global health community now face as we try to protect every child from vaccine-preventable infectious disease. With one in four children born without being registered, it is an identity crisis that now represents one of the biggest barriers to achieving our development goals; a problem so systemic that nothing short of a Copernican revolution within global health is likely to fix it.

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Apr 12, 2018

Gene editing for good: How CRISPR could transform global development

Today, more people are living healthy, productive lives than ever before. This good news may come as a surprise, but there is plenty of evidence for it. Since the early 1990s, global child mortality has been cut in half. There have been massive reductions in cases of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The incidence of polio has decreased by 99 percent, bringing the world to the verge of eradicating a major infectious disease, a feat humanity has accomplished only once before, with smallpox. The proportion of the world’s population in extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day, has fallen from 35 percent to about 11 percent.

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Apr 11, 2018

Tanzania launches early-age cervical cancer vaccine

More than 600,000 girls in Tanzania have started receiving vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. Girls aged between nine and 14 are being targeted to protect them from developing the illness at an early age. “Prevention is better than cure, elongating lives and and reducing treatment costs,” said Dr Daphrosa Lyimo, heading the government rollout.

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Apr 4, 2018

Mining social media to predict outbreaks

Forecasting influenza outbreaks before they strike could help officials take early action to reduce related deaths, which total 290,000 to 650,000 worldwide every year. In a recent study, researchers say they have accurately predicted outbreaks up to two weeks in advance—using only the content of social media conversations. The findings could theoretically be used to direct resources to areas that will need them most.

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Mar 27, 2018

Calls to rein in antibiotic use after study shows 65% increase worldwide

A dramatic rise in global antibiotic consumption has led public health experts to call for fresh strategies to rein in excessive use of the drugs, and for major investments to provide clean water, sanitation and vaccines in countries where infectious diseases are rife.

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Mar 22, 2018

Ending polio in Nigeria, one home at a time

Zulaihatu Abdullahi is well known in her community, particularly to the mothers. As a volunteer community mobilizer in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria, her mission is to ensure that no child contracts polio, or any other preventable childhood disease. This is difficult, as immunization programmes are sometimes treated with suspicion in her part of Nigeria. As a ‘change agent’, Zulaihatu’s job is to go door to door, counselling parents about the importance of the polio vaccine.

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