Uganda Conducts Preventive Ebola Vaccine Trial

Ugandan health authorities reported Tuesday that a trial of a preventive vaccine against Ebola, a contagious disease that causes deadly hemorrhages, was rolled out among health personnel in this African country.

One of the project's principal researchers, Pontiano Kalebu, said the vaccine will be applied to about 800 people over a two-year period in the district of Mbarara, in the southwest of the country, according to the Africa News Website.

Through the trial of the vaccine, manufactured by a Belgian company, we will try to assess 'its safety and ability to provoke an immune response with the aim of fighting the virus,' Kalebu specified.

The Health Ministry of Uganda, which shares a border with the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, in addition to carrying out the immunological trial, is taking several measures to prevent an outbreak of Ebola, such as strengthening health controls and maintaining adequate personal hygiene.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola, which has a high mortality rate if not treated in time, is transmitted through direct contact with contaminated blood and body fluids.

Bolivia Invests More than 12,9 Million Dollars in Vaccines

Bolivia's Ministry of Health spends 12,9 Million dollars annually on vaccines to be apply free to the population in order to prevent transmission or spread of 21 diseases. Each year the national government increases the budget to acquire the doses, which are not cheap. The average cost of each one is 21 Bs.(three dollars), not counting human resources, transport and accessories (syringe and cotton), explained Julio Sumi, head of the Expanded Program on Immunization.

These vaccines prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, pneumonia, Hib meningitis, polio, severe rotavirus diarrhea, and seasonal influenza. There are also doses against measles, rubella, mumps, yellow fever, diphtheria, military tuberculosis, meninguae, pneumococcal pneumonia, mumps and congenital rubella syndrome.

This list was complemented by a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) aimed at girls aged 10 to 12 to prevent cervical cancer.

The health official exemplified the difference between the cost of the HPV vaccine established in pharmacies between 1,200 Bs. (172 dollars) and 1,500 Bs. (215 dollars) each dose, while the Ministry of Health gave the two doses at no cost to schoolgirls.

Thanks to these vaccines, 80 percent of the population, especially children under five, were immunized against 21 diseases in 2017, Sumi concluded.

The vaccines and supplies purchased by this Bolivian ministry fulfill strict quality standards, which are certified by international institutions such as the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), according to an institutional bulletin of this state portfolio

Cuba Lung Cancer Vaccine: Researchers develop world's first lung cancer vaccine

Cuba has developed the world's first lung cancer vaccine, which is already making its way into other Latin American countries. And, it's the first Cuban patented drug being allowed to undergo clinical trials at a US cancer research institute. CGTN's Michael Voss has this report from Havana.

Caridad Gomez started smoking when she was 13. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. After undergoing intensive chemotherapy, she is now being treated with the world's first lung cancer vaccine. CimaVax- EGF is a Cuban developed drug aimed at preventing the recurrence of the disease. Gomez is now back at work and once a month, she returns to the hospital for a series of intramuscular injections.

CARDIDAD GOMEZ LUNG CANCER PATIENT "I feel good, I have even gained some weight. I've been using the vaccine for two years and four months now and so far I've felt really good."

Patients still have to complete a course of chemo or radio therapy before moving onto the vaccine. There are other lung cancer fighting drugs which work by attacking the cancer cells. What's different about the vaccine is that it helps the body generate its own immune system in a way that starves the cancer and stops it from growing.

DR YOANNA FLORES ONCOLOGIST "It has revolutionized lung cancer treatment in our country. It's a new therapeutic weapon for treating the disease. Patients are responding well and surviving for longer than those not being treated with it."

Early results were so positive that in 2016, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the United States persuaded the U.S. government to allow it to test the vaccine. The first time a Cuban produced drug is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. The vaccine is just one of an impressive array of cancer drugs developed at Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology.

MICHAEL VOSS HAVANA, CUBA "This research center has been working on cancer treatments for more than 20 years. It already has drugs to help with pancreatic cancer and brain tumors. Lung cancer is its first vaccine. Now it's working on one for prostate cancer."

 It was Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro who decided to concentrate on developing a world-class biotechnology sector and it's been well-funded ever since. If the clinical trials now underway in the United States are successful, pharmaceuticals could prove an important new income source for the Cuban economy. Michael Voss CGTN Havana.

  • Published in Cuba

New Treatment for Parasitic Diseases Tested

A new treatment can be effective against parasitic diseases, which cause more than 50,000 fatalities a year worldwide, said sources today.

Developed by researchers at the Novartis Genomics Institute in the United States, the drug has proven its positive effect in mice against Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis, which affect 20 million people in the world.

Specialists, after testing some three million candidates, found an effective compound, called GNF6702, able to selectively block the actions of parasites, said the research published by the journal Nature.

Jeremy, one of the authors, said that it is a step forward in understanding the parasites that cause those three diseases and, potentially, it will provide the cure for them.

According to the source, the project is at an early stage and the team will advance to the toxicological tests before testing in humans.

  • Published in World

Nearly 8 Million Children in Sudan to be Immunized Against Measles

Following one of the worst measles outbreaks in Sudan´s recent history, the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF, the Measles and Rubella Initiative (M&RI) and national partners, is launching a massive campaign to immunize 7.9 million children aged six months to 15 years against this life-threatening disease.

Since the start of the outbreak at the end of 2014, there have been 1,730 confirmed cases, 3,175 suspected cases and 22 fatalities.

West Darfur remains the worst affected state, with 441 confirmed cases and five deaths. Kassala has had 365 confirmed cases and five deaths, while in Red Sea state there have been 263 cases and four deaths.

The campaign, which launches today will initially target 28 affected localities in six of the highest risk states, before expanding to other areas identified as being at risk of an outbreak. In total it will target 96 localities in 16 affected and "at risk" states.

The immunization campaign will be a complex operation, however, as ongoing conflict in some areas of Sudan could restrict humanitarian access.

There are children in conflict zones in the Kordofans, Blue Nile and Darfur who have not received routine immunization since 2011. UNICEF has called on all parties to the fighting to facilitate humanitarian access so that these children can be reached.

Children are most at risk of the disease - children who are malnourished are even more vulnerable. In Sudan, some 36 per cent of children are stunted and the country has one of the highest levels of malnutrition in Africa.

Of the total number of reported measles cases in Sudan, 69 per cent are below 15 years of age, including 52 per cent under the age of five. For malnourished children measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, ear infections, pneumonia and severe diarrhoea. The measles virus is spread by respiratory transmission and is highly contagious. Up to 90 per cent of people without immunity who are sharing a house with an infected person will catch it.

  • Published in World
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