PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), Merck (MSD), and NYU Langone Medical Center announce collaboration

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), Merck (MSD), and NYU Langone Medical Center announced that they are working together to evaluate an approach targeting the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), a major surface protein on the malaria parasite. The organizations said that researchers working on this project are focusing on a new approach that targets a region of CSP important to a critical function of the protein. By blocking this function, it is hoped that invasion of the parasite into the liver, an essential step in causing malaria disease, can be prevented. Dr. Elizabeth Nardin, professor in the Department of Medical Parasitology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said, “We think we can improve the way sub-unit vaccines are designed by strategically targeting this critical protein function. Other vaccine approaches targeting CSP have required extremely high levels of antibody, which are difficult to elicit and to maintain. This approach has the potential to address that problem.” Dr. Christian Loucq, director of MVI, said, “We are very pleased that one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and a major academic medical center have committed to testing a promising new way to defend children against malaria.” More technical detail at:

GAVI announces the rollout of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Nicaragua

GAVI announced the rollout of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in Nicaragua “paving the way to introductions in more than 40 developing countries.” GAVI said that Nicaraguan children will receive pneumococcal vaccines on a routine basis as part of a regular childhood immunisation package provided by the country’s Ministry of Health. To support the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine in Nicaragua, GAVI has already approved US$4,732,000 for 2010-2011, and expects to commit another US$10 million through to 2015.

Global Fund Board approves 10th grant round: 79 grants / US$1.7 billion

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said its Board of Directors approved 79 grants with a two-year commitment of US$1.7 billion, representing “the tenth time the Global Fund Board approved new proposals to support programs fighting the three diseases. The total approved funding for these ten rounds is US$21.7 billion for 150 countries since it was created in 2002.” The Global Fund said the US$1.7 billion is made up of US$732 million for HIV and AIDS, US$574 for malaria and US$299 million for TB and US$128 million for health systems strengthening. The 79 proposals which were found to be of sufficient technical quality to be funded constitute a success rate of just over half of the submitted proposals. The announcement noted that the Board also “adopted a series of measures to enable future funding opportunities, including the launch of Round 11 on 15 August 2011, with a submission due date for applicants on 15 December 2011.”

Dow Jones Global Fund 50 Index: new financing mechanism for the Global Fund

Dow Jones Indexes said it is launching the Dow Jones Global Fund 50 Index: a new index in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “which will help generate resources for the Global Fund’s work.” The new index measures the performance of the largest companies that support the mission of the Global Fund. A portion of revenues generated through the licensing of the index will go to the Global Fund. Dow Jones said the new index “is the flagship of a new index series, which will include indexes with overlaying strategies and additional themes.” The index has been licensed to db X-trackers, the leading ETF platform of Deutsche Bank, to serve as a basis for a financial product, the db x-trackers Global Fund Supporters ETF. The ETF is now trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Dow Jones described the Fund as comprising the top 50 companies (based on float-adjusted market capitalization) that contribute to the mission of the Global Fund.  The index is quoted in U.S Dollars (USD). Float-market capitalization measures the amount of shares in a company that are readily available to be traded by investors. No more than 15 companies are selected from any individual country. The weight of individual countries is capped at 40% and single components are capped at 20%. The composition of the index is reviewed annually, in June. Float factors, shares and weights are updated quarterly. As of October 29, 2010, the year-to-date performance calculated in USD for the Dow Jones Global Fund 50 Index is -4.29%. Back-tested historical data has been calculated daily back to December 31, 2004, the date at which the index base value is set at 1000.

Charter: Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

WHO announced that its Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health “will propose a framework for global reporting, oversight and accountability on women’s and children’s health, and will “create a system to track whether donations for women’s and children’s health are made on time, resources are spent wisely and transparently, and whether the desired results are achieved.” WHO reported that the accountability framework proposed by the Commission will:

– track results and resource flows at global and country levels;

– identify a core set of indicators and measurement needs for women’s and children’s health;

– propose steps to improve health information and registration of vital events – births and deaths – in low-income countries;

– explore opportunities for innovation in information technology to improve access to reliable information on resources and outcomes. The Commission will report in May 2011.

Announcement: 14th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research

The MMWR for December 17, 2010 / Vol. 59 / No. 49 includes:

Announcement: 14th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research

December 17, 2010 / 59(49);1620

The 14th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research, the largest scientific forum devoted exclusively to the research and development of vaccines and related technologies for prevention and treatment of disease through immunization, will be held May 16–18, 2011, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference brings together the diverse fields of human and veterinary vaccinology to encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches among disease-specific and methodologic experts.

One Health initiatives, herpesvirus vaccines, the status of human immunodeficiency virus vaccines, genomics, special populations in immunology, and alternative animal models in vaccine discovery are among topics scheduled for discussion during the conference. New this year is a preconference workshop in academic vaccinology, Writing and Submitting a Vaccine Research Paper.

…The vaccine research conference is sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, in collaboration with CDC and 13 other national and international agencies and organizations. Additional information is available at