Displaying 1-13 of 13 key documents
Source: The Royal Society Philosophical Transactions B | 12 October 2011
This special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Science explores how vaccines can fulfil their full potential for addressing global health challenges. It charts the progress to date, reviewing successes as well as challenges in the development and distribution of both human and veterinary vaccines.
The articles describe how vaccines can help mitigate and treat the world's major infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, as well as chronic diseases, such as cancer. They explore vaccine policy and financing, ways to accelerate the development of new vaccines, issues surrounding public acceptance, and the logistics of getting vaccines to where they are needed. Also discussed is the use of vaccines to treat diseases in livestock — making an important link between health interventions, agricultural output and economic consequences.
The papers in this issue were presented at the meeting, 'New vaccines for global health', held at the Royal Society in London, United Kingdom, in November 2010.
Source: Cell | September 2007
This article provides an overview of global efforts to develop turmeric — a curry spice that is also used in a variety of Indian traditional remedies — into a modern therapeutic drug. The author highlights some of the hurdles to developing turmeric, including intellectual property barriers, turmeric's insolubility in water and its poor bioavailability. He also describes current efforts including ongoing lab and clinical trials.
Source: Springer | 2008
The author list for this collection of chapters, with names like Cesar Victora and Carine Ronsman, reads like a 'Who's Who' in nutrition and health for the developing world. The chapter topics are wide-ranging and include subjects such as the economics of nutrition programmes, the extent to which scientific data influences nutrition policies, and the challenge of providing food aid during humanitarian emergencies.
Each chapter is organised as a scientific paper. Most usefully perhaps, the authors of each chapter include both their conclusions, and a separate list of recommendations for researchers and policymakers.
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | 2003
The third IPCC assessment report, Climate Change 2001, includes this section on the links between climate change and health. It offers a detailed look at how variations in climate, such as temperature or rainfall, could affect vector-borne disease. In particular, it evaluates computer models that predict climate impact on dengue fever and malaria. The assessment also looks at specific diseases such as leishmaniasis or schistosomiasis, explaining how the disease is spread and how changes in the environment might alter that spread.
The authors take a holistic look at the various factors involved. For example, in assessing schistosomiasis, they also consider the irrigation systems that will likely be needed to cope with expected water shortages resulting from climate change. The schistosomiasis parasite uses water snails as an intermediate host, so irrigation systems will need to be designed in such a way that they do not cause snail populations to multiply.
An update to the research on climate and vector-borne disease is also included in the fourth IPCC assessment report[796kB] although not in as much detail.
This Nature paper reviews evidence that a changing climate poses significant health risks and that global warming over the past few years has already increased illness and death worldwide.
Infectious diseases are strongly affected by climatic variations because the vectors that carry the bacteria or viruses do not have thermoregulatory mechanisms, say the authors. One of the most important existing sources of climatic variability is El Niño. This weather system has been shown to influence malaria in South America, rift valley fever in east Africa, cholera in Bangladesh and dengue fever in Thailand. If, as some scientists have suggested, climate change alters El Niño, the consequences will be significant.
The authors say there are some promising early warning systems for infectious disease. In Botswana, for example, two-thirds of the inter-annual variability of malaria can be predicted from sea surface temperatures and monthly rainfall.
Source: Bulletin of the WHO | 2000
As global temperatures rise, vector-borne disease is set to increase in the developing world but patterns will vary across countries. This review looks at how the prevalence of vector-borne disease will change in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
As the authors explain, urbanisation levels will determine which diseases are likely to hit hardest. For example, dengue fever is a largely urban disease and will affect South America, where over 70 per cent of the population live in cities, far more than it will Sub-Saharan Africa, where less than 30 per cent of people live in urban areas. Malaria, by contrast, will have a bigger impact in Africa.
As ecosystems change, so will the distribution of vector species. Some will find their habitats expanded. A positive note is that most vectors cannot survive above about 40 degrees Celsius, so regions in which warming tips the temperature over this level could well see a drop in vector-borne disease — this is starting to be seen in Senegal, for example.
But the precise extent to which climate variability affects vector-borne disease is yet unknown, say the authors, which hampers evidence-based policy change.
Source: The Lancet | May 2009
This report provides a policy framework for assessing the impacts of climate change on health, including vector-borne disease, by considering five challenges: informational, poverty and equity-related, technological, sociopolitical and institutional.
It begins with a detailed outline of climate science so far and the financial cost of adaptation. The informational challenges relate to better monitoring and surveillance to gather urgently needed data on disease and mortality in different regions, and early warning systems to predict extreme weather events and associated disease outbreaks. Technological challenges include the development of vaccines for diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
How do policymakers tackle such challenges? A key move will be for government and non-government agencies, academia and civil society to collaborate internationally. Surveillance and primary health information systems in developing countries must be improved and local communities need to share adaptation strategies.
Adapting to climate change also means investing in food security, clean water supplies and reforestation. Policymakers also need to stimulate industry to develop low-cost methods for recycling wastewater and desalinating sea water. Mitigating and adapting to climate change, say the authors, has become inextricable from policies to eradicate poverty or closing the gap on social inequalities and health.
Source: WHO | May 2009
This article, published by the WHO, answers frequently asked questions about the A(H1N1) influenza virus, or 'swine flu'. It provides information on the availability, production and effectiveness of A(H1N1) vaccines.
The WHO says that no effective A(H1N1) vaccines are currently available (May 2009) but adds that work is underway to develop one. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, for example, has identified and prepared candidate vaccine strains and is distributing them to all interested parties on request.
A vaccine could be available in five to six months after a pandemic strain has been identified but the WHO notes that more than 90 per cent of the global capacity for vaccine production lies in Europe or the United States — which may have implications for vaccinating people in developing countries. While these countries are well-versed in distributing vaccines through mass campaigns, they may face difficulties in ensuring timely access to enough supplies of vaccine.
Source: WHO | May 2009
This article, published by the WHO, assesses the potential for a global pandemic of A(H1N1) influenza, or 'swine flu'. The authors outline the properties of influenza viruses that are needed to create a pandemic and discuss population vulnerability and pandemic severity. They highlight the populations at most risk, for example people with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and the role that nutritional status and the quality of health services can play in influencing a pandemic's severity.
In assessing the 2009 swine flu outbreak, they draw attention to the fact that mutations often occur in influenza viruses, which means that while the emerging virus may be mild, it could return in several months in a much more lethal form.
The authors say that A(H1N1) is a new influenza virus not previously seen in humans or animals. They suggest that it is more contagious than seasonal flu, but note that outside Mexico where the outbreak began, the virus is causing very mild illness in otherwise healthy people. They emphasise the risk to people suffering from other chronic diseases and note that the WHO estimates that 85 per cent of these people are in developing countries.
Source: Nature | April 2009
This timeline, published by Nature, lists key dates and events in the 2009 outbreak of A(H1N1) influenza, or 'swine flu'. Drawing on information from the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, it details confirmed and reported cases of A(H1N1), highlights the geographical spread of the virus and links to official documentation and key research findings as they are released.
This fact sheet from the WHO outlines the basics about swine influenza, or "swine flu", including what it is, what its implications are for human health and how people become infected.
Swine flu is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs. It can sometimes cause disease in humans — either from infected pigs or, occasionally, through human-to-human transmission. It cannot be caught by eating properly handled and prepared pork.
No vaccine can stop swine flu causing illness in humans, but two classes of drugs are available. Most previously reported cases recovered fully without medical attention or antivirals.
There is a risk that swine flu could lead to a pandemic because most people are not immune to the virus. But the impact of such a pandemic is difficult to predict.
Typical symptoms resemble seasonal flu — a high fever, cough and/or sore throat. If you feel unwell, the WHO advises staying at home, resting, contacting your doctor before going to see them, and covering your nose and mouth when out of the house.
To protect yourself from swine flu, the WHO recommends avoiding contact with sick pigs or people, washing your hands regularly, practicing good health habits and following advice from local health authorities.
Source: Innovation Strategy Today | 2005
This paper analyses the development of South Korea's hepatitis B vaccine industry. In particular, it examines how intellectual property and drug and vaccine regulations affected the industry's development.
Growth of South Korea's hepatitis B vaccine industry was supported by joint ventures allowing the acquisition of foreign knowledge, the potential market for the vaccine and the availability of skilled manpower. Also vital to the process were improvements in South Korea's regulations, which brought them more into line with international standards. The authors show that South Korea's success has policy implications for other countries. To reach the higher stages of innovative development in the biomedical industry, they say, developing countries examine R&D in the public and private sectors, high manufacturing standards, national and international distribution systems, intellectual property systems and regulatory systems.
Source: Nature Medicine | December 2004
This review puts the HIV/AIDS epidemic into perspective against other new and re-emerging diseases that have raged among human populations since the beginning of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, including SARS, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)/variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and Nipah fever, and old diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera. The authors argue that with a better understanding of how the emergence of such diseases is governed by changes in human ecology – such as movement, environment, living conditions and social interactions – we may be in a better position to anticipate when and where there is a risk of another new disease appearing.