Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • The House Committee on Appropriations released a draft of the FY 2013 Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and related Agencies appropriations bill. It provides the funding levels for global health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the John E. Fogarty International Center.
  • Heads of State endorse the establishment of the African Public Health Emergency Fund (APHEF).
  • New smoking law in South Africa under attack.
  • Federally funded website in Australia is offering tools and tips to those battling anxiety and depression.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Truvada as HIV prevention pill.
  • European agency backs approval of a gene therapy.
  • Atlanta curbs smoking, part of southern wave of bans.
  • The F.D.A. has approved Qsymia, a weight loss drug.


  • AIDS research road map issued by the international AIDS specialists- hope of eventual AIDS cure revived. The priorities of new cure research strategy will be- determine why HIV hibernates and persists, why people are naturally resistant, develop strategies to make them more naturally resistant etc.
  • African women to gain access to innovative contraception.  The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the US Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer and PATH (the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) partnership plans to produce 12 million doses of contraceptive between 2013 and 2016.
  • iAFya mobile health application launched in East Africa. This personal health service on phone answers everyday health questions- from basic information to professional health advice.
  • UCB launches Neupro(R) in the U.S. to treat Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs syndrome.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Onyx blood cancer drug Kyprolis (Carfilzomib).


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study suggests that egg therapy helps children to overcome their allergies.
  • The researchers at Stanford University and at the Howard Hudges Medical Institute have worked on getting genome maps from 91 sperms and were able to create a personal map of the DNA within the sperm. They were also able to capture an image of the new mutations that formed within each sperm cell as the DNA changed to create more genetic diversity.
  • Scientists have discovered a link between cancerous cervical cells and those in the esophagus. They also found out that these cancerous cells are the remnants of a process known as embryogenesis, which failed to disappear and get replace by the adult cells.
  • Tool created by the researchers help to track real time changes in the brain of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of brain disorders like Parkinson’s disease, depression and Tourette.
  • The researchers at the California Institute of Technology have revealed that certain changes in the over reactive immune system of mice could cause behaviors similar to those found in autism. This study has helped to find a link between irregularities in the immune system and neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Researchers turn skin cells to brain cells.  They have generated the type of human neuron which is specifically damaged by the Parkinson’s disease (PD) and used various drugs to stop the damage.
  • Scientists have designed a pen like tool to more effectively stop seizures.
  • The researchers at the University of Dundee have showed through their study that a cheap gout drug- allopurinol- is helpful to treat heart pain.
  • A new study shows that the vitamin C may lower gout risk in men. It showed that consuming at least 1500 milligrams per day of this vitamin reduces the odds of gout by 46 percent.
  • The researchers in the Milk Quality Improvement Program at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have identified the predominant spore-forming bacteria in milk and their unique enzyme activity, the knowledge of which can be used to protect the quality and shelf life of dairy products.
  • Scientists grow sweat glands from newly identified stem cells. They devised a strategy to purify and molecularly characterize the different kinds of stem cell populations that make up the complex sweat duct and gland in skin.
  • A team of researchers have demonstrated the role of Lactobacillus reuteri as a beneficial probiotic organism which produces an antimicrobial substance known as reuterin, which may protect intestinal epithelial cells from infection by the foodborne bacterial pathogen Salmonella.
  • Scientist develop a new line of approach for combination therapy against melanoma. It involves combating the interaction between the protein MDM4 and the tumor suppressor p53.
  • A research shows that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing in HIV positive women may help reduce frequent cervical cancer screening.
  • A study says that bacteria outbreak (which can cause gastroenteritis) in Northern Europe is due to ocean warming.
  • Discovery of anti-inflammatory effects of abscisic acid in the lungs could prove crucial to healing influenza.
  • Latest studies have revealed that patients with spinal cord injury and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis may benefit from cell transplantation.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fatal car crash risk highest among young drivers. Its July issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report found that about 22 percent of the motor vehicle deaths among the U.S. residents with young people ages 15 to 24.
  • A study shows that women with high stress jobs may be more likely to have a heart attack.

Diseases and Disasters:

  • Heavy rains kill about 37 people in Beijing (China).
  • U.S. whooping cough outbreak could be worst in half century.
  • The doctors say that the survivors of movie massacre likely to develop depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).



Global Health News Last Week


Human Rights Watch has urged the Bahraini authorities to halt what it said was a “systematic campaign” to intimidate doctors and other medical staff suspected of sympathising with recent anti-government protests.


  • The GlobalPost has been doing an excellent series of stories examining President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) is focusing on in Guatemala. Slow in its implementation and hampered by little new money, GHI was supposed to be an example of Obama’s new, innovative commitment to global health.
  • The King of Swaziland has called for all of the men in the South African nation to get circumcised in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • Results from a pilot program in Philippines have shown that deaths from rabies can be dramatically reduced when taking a community driven bottom up approach.
  • A child in Khartoum, Sudan is the first to receive a rotavirus vaccine, kicking off a campaign to vaccinate children in 40 low and middle-income countries.


  • A recent report from UNAIDS cites data from a recently released South African study that shows the effectiveness of male circumcision reducing HIV prevalence in men.
  • A campaign to encourage African men to get circumcised to prevent infection by HIV gained a powerful boost on Wednesday by three new studies unveiled at an international AIDS forum in Rome.
  • A new study has found that women in conflict areas want to utilize
    contraceptives, but only 4 to 16 percent are able to gain access.
  • At the International AIDS Society, one of the big stories is a CDC study showing the drug Truvada prevented HIV transmissions in more than 60 percent of heterosexuals. The study’s author Dr. Michael Thigpen discusses how much Truvada costs, why HIV is so pervasive among women in Botswana, and how much people must take the drug for it to be effective.
  • Researchers have discovered that chloroquine, often used to treat malaria, may be effective in treating other autoimmune diseases.
  • An antiviral drug to combat HIV/AIDS synthesised by genetically modified plants is being tested on a small number of women in the UK to establish its safety, reports the Guardian.
  • A recent study has shown that stress experienced by a pregnant mother can have a negative impact on the development of the child in the womb.
  • Researchers presenting at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogens, Treatment, and Prevention in Rome, say that they have inched closer to a vaccine by leveraging a genetically altered version of SIV.


  • The World Health Organization is sounding the alarm on hospital safety and infections acquired while patients are in a health care facility, saying that a hospital  stay is riskier than air travel.
  • Researchers have determined that Hepatitis C can be transmitted sexually, after performing a 5 year study on HIV positive MSM.
  • Famine in parts of southern Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly children, the UN said Wednesday in an official declaration of what aid officials describe as the worst humanitarian crisis in the troubled country in two decades.
  • A new study warns that Pakistan “risks becoming the last global outpost of [polio], this vicious disease.” The disease has also resurfaced in four other countries.
  • Even in developing countries where child mortality is falling, the poorest under-fives are at high risk of dying from entirely preventable diseases because they do not receive basic immunization and have no treatment for diarrhea.
  • Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, says new studies indicate a parasitic infection, schistosomiasis, may be one of the most important — and least recognized — co-infections increasing the risk of HIV transmission.
  • An All Africa editorial examines how the price of drugs leads to deaths that could be otherwise averted.