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infectious diseases

The Autumn 2020 edition of Pharmafile is available to read for free online now!

The Autumn 2020 edition of Pharmafile is available to read for free online now!

2020 has seen almost unprecedented disruption for life sciences at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the industry has somewhat acclimatised and the rollout of an effective vaccine could be around the corner, challenges remain.

Chlamydia vaccine proves safe in Phase 1 trial

A chlamydia vaccine has shown to be safe in a Phase 1 clinical trial, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The first-in-human trial of 35 women found that there were no serious adverse reactions to the CTH522 chlamydia vaccine.

The trial at Hammersmith hospital in London found the drug was safe and well tolerated, as the most common adverse event reported was mild local injection site reactions.

Ebola drugs prove 90% effective in clinical trial in DRC

Image Credit: NIAID

Health professionals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are now offering two experimental drugs to people infected with Ebola, after they proved highly effective in ensuring survival in a multi-drug clinical trial.

Regeneron’s combination of three monoclonal antibodies, REGN-EB3, and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s (NIAID’s) drug mAB114, showed respective survival rates of 71% and 66% in a clinical trial in the DRC.

Drug resistant malaria spreads in South East Asia

Drug resistant malaria parasites are spreading rapidly in South East Asia, according to researchers from Thailand and the United Kingdom.

The drug resistant parasites have spread from Cambodia into Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Between 2008 and 2013, a multidrug resistant strain of malaria spread across Cambodia causing high rates of treatment failure with the frontline combination therapy dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says he will not rule out 'compulsory vaccination'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he would not rule out ‘compulsory vaccination,’ as he argued that those spreading anti-vaccine myths had “blood on their hands”.

The Health Secretary suggested that “we need to consider all options" when it comes to increasing vaccine coverage.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Hancock said: “I do think we need to consider all options. Failure to vaccinate when there isn’t a good reason is wrong. Those people who campaign against vaccination are campaigning against science. The science is settled.”  

HIV cannot be transmitted when viral load is undetectable, study shows

The risk of transmitting HIV through gay sex when the infected partner’s HIV load has been fully supressed by antiretroviral drugs is effectively zero, according to a study published in The Lancet.

 The findings support the message of the U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable) campaign in confirming that HIV cannot be transmitted via homosexual sex when the infected partner’s viral load is undetectable.

Funding to fight malaria falls $2 billion short of WHO target, study shows

Global spending on the fight against malaria has stalled, falling $2 billion short of World Health Organization (WHO) targets, according to a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Total spending on the fight against malaria reached $4.3 billion in 2016. However the figure falls far short of the goal of $6.6 billion set by the WHO.

New Yorkers must be vaccinated or face a fine

A public health emergency has been declared in New York following an outbreak of measles. Residents of certain postcodes in Brooklyn have thus been told to get vaccinated or face a fine.

There have been 285 cases of measles in the particular Brooklyn postcodes since the 30 September, 246 of which were in children, according to New York health commissioner Oxiris Barbot.

Of the 285 people who were infected with measles 21 were hospitalised while five were admitted into intensive care. However no-one has, as of yet, died.

Indian measles vaccination campaign saved tens of thousands of lives

Image Credit: CDC Global

A measles vaccination campaign saved tens of thousands of children’s lives in India between 2010 and 2013, according to a report published in the journal eLife.

The findings instil new hope that with continued diligence and high rates of immunisation, measles could be eliminated in India.

However the infection still remains a significant cause of mortality in children under five years old, with much of the burden of mortality and transmission carried in Asia and Africa.

Reformulated OxyContin led to spike in Hepatitis C infections

Efforts to create an “abuse deterrent” OxyContin pill inadvertently led to an increase in the number of Hepatitis C infections, according to a report from the US think-tank, RAND Corporation.

In 2010, Purdue Pharma reformulated its signature pain drug OxyContin, with the aim of making it harder to crush or ingest nasally. The move was intended to make the opioid drug harder to abuse.

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