Twitter Watch: 21-27 March 2011

Twitter Watch
A selection of items of interest this week from a variety of twitter feeds. This capture is highly selective and by no means intended to be exhaustive.

gatesfoundation Gates Foundation
Blog: A new #vaccine discovered, developed & tested in #India–specifically to help Indian children:

@VaccinesToday view full profile →
Vaccines Today is an online platform, supported by the European Vaccine Manufacturers (EVM), for discussing vaccines and vaccination.

CDC Observes World TB Day 2011. 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis. Learn more:

whonews WHO News
#Tuberculosis is curable, yet 4500 people die everyday from it. Watch @CraigDavid #WorldTBDay video @StopTB

Today is World TB Day. There’s still work to be done before tuberculosis can be stamped out completely. #WorldTBDay

AIDSvaccine IAVI
IAVI Report Blog on @KeystoneSymp session on search for correlates of protection from RV144 #Thai #HIV #vaccine trial

sabinvaccine Sabin Vaccine Inst.
Experts Meet to Develop Plan to Eliminate #Measles and #Rubella in the Americas:

“Herd Immunity”: A Rough Guide

Clinical Infectious Diseases
Volume 52 Issue 7 April 1, 2011

Invited Articles: Vaccines
Paul Fine, Ken Eames, and David L. Heymann
“Herd Immunity”: A Rough Guide
Clin Infect Dis. (2011) 52(7): 911-916 doi:10.1093/cid/cir007

The term “herd immunity” is widely used but carries a variety of meanings [17]. Some authors use it to describe the proportion immune among individuals in a population. Others use it with reference to a particular threshold proportion of immune individuals that should lead to a decline in incidence of infection. Still others use it to refer to a pattern of immunity that should protect a population from invasion of a new infection. A common implication of the term is that the risk of infection among susceptible individuals in a population is reduced by the presence and proximity of immune individuals (this is sometimes referred to as “indirect protection” or a “herd effect”). We provide brief historical, epidemiologic, theoretical, and pragmatic public health perspectives on this concept.

Lancet Editorial – Health care: an African solution

The Lancet
Mar 26, 2011  Volume 377  Number 9771 Pages 1047 – 1124
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Health care: an African solution
The Lancet

In 2006, WHO’s World Health Report detailed the perilous state of health-care provision in sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics are familiar to anyone with an interest in global health. Africa had only 2·3 health-care workers per 1000 population, compared with 18·9 in Europe, and this workforce had to deal with 24% of the global disease burden, with just 1% of the total global funding for health. Since published, these statistics have formed the introduction to many subsequent publications on health in Africa, but so far, practical solutions have been in short supply.

(Cancer) Vaccines: Know your enemy

Volume 471 Number 7339 pp409-542  24 March 2011

Special Supplement: Cancer
Vaccines: Know your enemy
Michael Eisenstein1
Published online
23 March 2011

Vaccines are arguably our greatest medical achievement. But to what extent can they help prevent cancer?

[Initial article language]
Cancer operates like a well-disguised saboteur. Occasionally it slips up by displaying unusual proteins, tripping immunological surveillance systems that are checking for abnormal growth. For decades now, scientists have tried to exploit this vulnerability with therapeutic vaccines — injections of tumour-associated proteins that essentially hang a ‘Wanted’ poster, helping immune cells recognize and kill cancer cells.

After a string of expensive and dispiriting defeats, therapeutic cancer vaccines recently registered their first big win. In April 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Provenge (sipuleucel-T) — a mixture of a patient’s own cells incubated with a protein expressed by 95% of prostate tumours. This was not an unequivocal victory, however. “On average, patients live about four months longer,” says Martin Kast, a cancer vaccine specialist at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. “It certainly measures up to many chemotherapeutics, but there’s still a long way to go.”