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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 16–29 July 2009

Male circumcision 'does not reduce HIV transmission risk'
A study conducted in Rakai District, Uganda, has confirmed that the circumcision of HIV-infected men does not reduce the chances of transmission to female partners. Previous observational studies had suggested an association between male circumcision and reduced risk of infection in female partners. The authors say that condom use after circumcision to prevent transmission is essential. More>>[336kB]

New technology could enable early detection of AIDS
Researchers in Kenya and Israel have developed a technology that helps activate antibodies in the blood enabling early detection of HIV/AIDS. They say the technology, known as SMARTube, will be useful for testing donated blood and detecting HIVinfection in pregnant women who might require antiretroviral therapy before the disease is clinically detected. More>>

Ethiopian government celebrates rinderpest eradication
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has declared Ethiopia a rinderpest-free zone. US-based researchers modified a rinderpest vaccine so that it could be transported to rural areas without the need to be refrigerated. The previous vaccine had failed because of its heat sensitivity. Ethiopia has grappled with the virus, which is fatal to cattle and causes severe economic losses, for decades. More>>  

Chimps get AIDS
Scientists working in Tanzania have found that wild chimpanzees naturally infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV) — long thought to be harmless to them — can contract an AIDS-like syndrome and die as a result. They say that these findings could inform HIV research and lead to better treatments or an improved vaccine for humans. More>>

New model for yellow fever
Scientists in Burkina Faso and Europe have developed a model for assessing yellow fever epidemic risk and prioritising populations for vaccination. Construction of the model involved collecting data on factors associated with exposure and susceptibility, and projecting health districts onto risk maps. The team say that their approach could be applied to any disease with documented risk factors. More>>

Glaxo unveils plans for HIV paediatric drugs
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has announced a slew of initiatives geared towards addressing medical needs of HIV-positive children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key among them is the announcement of a US$10 million programme to promote a public–private research partnership to develop HIV/AIDS medicines for children. More>>

South Africa ready for satellite launch
South Africa is preparing for the Russian launch of its microsatellite, SumbandilaSat, next month to boost the country's earth observation research. The 81 kilogramme-satellite was designed by South African microsatellite company SunSpace and is based around a new satellite platform. More>>

African agricultural protégés announced
African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) has announced the second batch of fellows to a programme designed to boost female talent in African agricultural research. The winners, from ten Sub-Saharan African countries, will be mentored by senior women scientists on how to tackle the food crisis and climate change while improving the daily lives of small-scale farmers. More>>

Compiled by Kimani Chege.

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