UN/WHO launch “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health”

The United Nations and WHO launched the “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health” – described as a concerted world-wide effort to save the lives of more than 16 million women and children – at the global summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in New York. Stakeholders pledged over US$40 billion in resources for women’s and children’ health as part of the strategy.  WHO said “leaders from government, international organizations, business, academia, philanthropy, health professional associations and civil society have come together to develop this strategy, recognizing that the health of women and children is key to progress on all development goals. The Global Strategy calls for all partners to unite and take real action.”

The announcement noted that execution of the new strategy in the 49 lowest-income countries could help assure that in 2015:

– 43 million new users have access to comprehensive family planning,

– 19 million more women give birth supported by a skilled health worker, with the necessary infrastructure, drugs, equipment and regulations,

– 2.2 million additional neonatal infections are treated,

– 21.9 million more infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life,

– 15.2 million more children are fully immunized in their first year of life

– 117 million more children under five receive vitamin A supplements, and

– 85,000 more quality health facilities and up to 3.5 million more health workers are available.

More documentation and announcement content at:

http://www.who.int/pmnch/activities/jointactionplan/en/index.html

GAVI Alliance announces US$1 million contribution from Republic of Korea

The GAVI Alliance said it received a US$1 million contribution from the Republic of Korea, “the first Asian donor to support the Geneva-based global health partnership whose work on immunisation has saved 5.4 million lives in the past 10 years.” GAVI CEO Julian Lob-Levyt said, “We are delighted that the Republic of Korea has chosen to become a donor to GAVI and look forward to deepening our relationship in the months and years ahead.” GAVI said the contribution was formally announced in New York on Wednesday at the UN summit on accelerating progress to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Dr Lob-Levyt “signed a two-page ‘contribution arrangement’ on the sidelines of the UN summit with Sul Kyung-hoon, Director-General for Development Cooperation at the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,” GAVI noted.

http://www.gavialliance.org/media_centre/press_releases/korea_donor.php

WHO launches prequalified vaccines database

WHO announced a new database for vaccines prequalified by WHO by type of vaccine, manufacturer and country of manufacture, to support immunization programme managers, procurement agencies, regulatory authorities, and other partners. WHO said “the ultimate goal of WHO’s prequalification programme for vaccines is to ensure that all countries have access to vaccines that meet international standards of quality, safety and efficacy and are appropriate for the target population. The rigourous evaluation process includes review of comprehensive documentation on production methods, vaccine composition, quality control and clinical experience; independent testing for consistency by WHO-accredited laboratories; and site audits of the manufacturer to ensure that vaccine and production methods conform to international standards. Complaints about vaccine quality and reports of adverse events following immunization are investigated by WHO. United Nations procurement agencies only purchase vaccines that have been prequalified by WHO.” http://www.who.int/immunization/newsroom/news_prequalified_database_online/en/index.html

Database at: http://www.who.int/immunization_standards/vaccine_quality/PQ_vaccine_list_en/en/index.html

BARDA awards innovation contracts: “natural and man-made biological threats.”

BARDA announced the first eight contract awards “under an initiative to help modernize and improve the nation’s infrastructure for producing medical countermeasures that protect against natural and man-made biological threats.” BARDA is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The awards total US$55 million for the initial phase and up to $100 million over three years, and support the following innovations (full text from announcement):

– VaxDesign will further develop its MIMIC platform, an in vitro (test-tube-based) human immune system mimetic designed to accelerate evaluation of candidate and stockpiled vaccine safety and effectiveness by supplementing animal testing.

– PATH will test multiple innovative formulation chemistries and strategies to increase the shelf-life of influenza vaccines, which has implications for the national vaccine stockpile as well as cold-chain requirements domestically and in developing countries.

– IDRI will develop and evaluate innovative adjuvant formulations to enhance influenza vaccine immunogenicity and cross-protection to make them more effective against novel viral strains that may cause the next pandemic.

– Pfenex will apply its innovative Pfenex Expression Technology Platform to the development of optimized bioprocesses for high yield production of a stable candidate anthrax vaccine.

– Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics will address a critical issue in the time required to begin manufacturing of influenza vaccine against a newly identified strain by investigating techniques for the rapid development of optimized influenza seed virus.

– Rapid Micro Biosystems will address a critical issue in the time required for release of influenza vaccine after manufacturing by developing methods for accelerated sterility testing. Together, these improvements could shave weeks off the influenza vaccine manufacturing and product release schedule.

– 3M and Northrop Grumman will develop integrated diagnostic capabilities for rapid, high-throughput surveillance and molecular diagnostics.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100921006822/en/BARDA-Funds-Medical-Countermeasure-Innovation

Mobile Phone–based Infectious Disease Surveillance System, Sri Lanka

Emerging Infectious Diseases
Volume 16, Number 10–October 2010
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/index.htm

Research
Mobile Phone–based Infectious Disease Surveillance System, Sri Lanka
C. Robertson et al.

Abstract
Because many infectious diseases are emerging in animals in low-income and middle-income countries, surveillance of animal health in these areas may be needed for forecasting disease risks to humans. We present an overview of a mobile phone–based frontline surveillance system developed and implemented in Sri Lanka. Field veterinarians reported animal health information by using mobile phones. Submissions increased steadily over 9 months, with »4,000 interactions between field veterinarians and reports on the animal population received by the system. Development of human resources and increased communication between local stakeholders (groups and persons whose actions are affected by emerging infectious diseases and animal health) were instrumental for successful implementation. The primary lesson learned was that mobile phone–based surveillance of animal populations is acceptable and feasible in lower-resource settings. However, any system implementation plan must consider the time needed to garner support for novel surveillance methods among users and stakeholders.

Optimizing Influenza Protection: Vaccine for Children Program (VFC)

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
October 2010 – Volume 29 – Issue 10
http://journals.lww.com/pidj/pages/currenttoc.aspx

Optimizing Protection Against Influenza in Children Eligible for the Vaccine for Children Program
Hull, Harry F.; O’Connor, Heidi

Abstract:
Background: Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program are immunized against influenza at lower rates and less likely to receive their second recommended dose. Live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) has higher vaccine efficacies (VEs) than trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV). Increased use of LAIV could provide better protection against influenza for this vulnerable population.

Methods: Published VE estimates and vaccine utilization data from a nationwide study of randomly selected pediatric practices were used to model percentages of VFC children that would be immune following immunization.

Results: A total of 22,329 influenza vaccine doses were administered to 20,626 VFC-eligible children aged 24 months to 17 years in the study population. Among children recommended to receive 2 doses, only 1234 of 3018 (41%) aged 24 to 59 months and 469 of 1908 (25%) aged 5 to 8 years received their second dose. Of the vaccinated VFC population, 73% to 83% would be immune using LAIV compared with 53% to 68% with TIV. Differences in aggregate immunity were greatest among 24- to 59-month olds with 71% to 78% of LAIV immunized children immune compared with 48% to 60% with TIV. In this model, 29% to 47% more children aged 24 to 59 months would be immune prior to peak influenza season when vaccinated with LAIV.

Conclusions: Because VE is higher and most VFC children fail to receive their second recommended dose, population protection is substantially higher with LAIV. Although LAIV cannot be given to all children, LAIV should be used preferentially for the VFC population, particularly for children aged 24 to 59 months and those needing 2 doses.

AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network (AVAN)

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 26 September 2010)
a title=”http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=browse&issn=1549-1676&method=pubdate&search_fulltext=1&order=online_date&row_start=1&limit=10&document_count=1533&ct=1&SESSID=aac96924d41874935d8e1c2a2501181c#results” href=”http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=browse&issn=1549-1676&method=pubdate&search_fulltext=1&order=online_date&row_start=1&limit=10&document_count=1533&ct=1&SESSID=aac96924d41874935d8e1c2a2501181c#results”>http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=browse&issn=1549-1676&method=pubdate&search_fulltext=1&order=online_date&row_start=1&limit=10&document_count=1533&ct=1&SESSID=aac96924d41874935d8e1c2a2501181c#results

AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network (AVAN): Expanding the Regional Role in Developing HIV Vaccines

Stephen J. Kent, David A. Cooper, Mean Chhi Vun, Yiming Shao, Linqi Zhang, Nirmal Ganguly, Budiman Bela, Hiko Tamashiro, Rossana Ditangco, Supachai Rerks-Ngarm, Punnee Pitisuttithum, Nguyen Van Kinh, Alan Bernstein, Saladin Osmanov Health in Action, published 21 Sep 2010

Summary Points
– The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to spread and an AIDS vaccine is urgently needed.
– Regional alliances and international collaborations can foster the development and evaluation of the next generation of AIDS vaccine candidates.
– The importance of coordinating and harmonizing efforts across regional alliances has become abundantly clear.
– We recently formed the AIDS Vaccine for Asia Network (AVAN) to help facilitate the development of a regional AIDS vaccine strategy that accelerates research and development of an AIDS vaccine through government advocacy, improved coordination, and harmonization of research; develops clinical trial and manufacturing capacity; supports ethical and regulatory frameworks; and ensures community participation.