Friday, February 24, 2012

Leaders call for global “bold action” to enhance food security.

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


Rwanda is striving to rebuild its economy with coffee and tea productions, which are significant sources of foreign exchange, the country’s president, Paul Kagame, told the 35th Session of the Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Wednesday.
In his opening remarks, Kagame urged the international community to “be bold and try what has not been done before. We must learn from what has worked and adapt these models to suit smallholder farmers. The reality in most developing countries is that smallholder agriculture remains the source of livelihood and food supply. Every farmer counts.”
Nearly two-thirds of the Rwandese population live below poverty line but in the past five years progress has been made according to Kagame who noted that the country’s gross domestic product has grown at an average of 8 per cent.
IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze pledged at the meeting to pull up to 90 million people out of poverty, saying that long-term rural development is the key to poverty reduction. He pointed to IFAD Member States’ commitment to a target of US$1.5 billion in new contributions for IFAD’s Ninth Replenishment of resources – a 25 per cent increase over IFAD’s last round of fund-raising.
Nwanze promised that IFAD would continue to be “the voice of the smallholder farmer, fisherperson, pastoralist, the landless farm worker and of women and youth.”
Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, in his maiden address to a United Nations agency since he took office, commended IFAD’s focus on women and reaffirmed Italy’s support for IFAD and the other Rome-based food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Programme.
The Italian leader underscored the “interdisciplinary” nature of development efforts that involves various factors including empowerment.
“Giving women equal access to agricultural resources and inputs is one of the most powerful ways of reducing poverty and hunger,” he told the packed room of international leaders and journalists. “I strongly encourage IFAD to continue to focus on this important dimension in all of its activities.”
The vice president of Liberia, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, said that ending hunger in the country was a priority and strengthening ties with IFAD will make a real difference. “We can’t keep falling back on emergency food. We must commit ourselves to sustainable agriculture,” he added.
Although the Western Africa nation is endowed with natural resources and the potential for self-sufficiency in food, it has been suffering from persistent high unemployment, low literacy and the absence of basic infrastructure such as adequate roads, water and electrical services.
In the delegates plenary session on that day, Lindiwe Majela Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a regional policy and advocacy network for southern Africa, discussed the promise that the Rio+20 Conference may hold for agriculture.
“The last five years have been frustrating, when agriculture was outside of the discussions about climate change,” Sibanda said. "For the first time in history, agriculture is part of the discussions.”
The Rio+20 meeting, to be held in June, will focus on two themes: developing a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and an institutional framework for implementing these objectives.
Development leaders and heads of state or government gathered for the opening of to discuss the world’s most urgent problem: how to feed the world and protect the planet at the same time.
The meeting’s theme is sustainable smallholder agriculture. Small-holder farming supports 2 billion people providing up to 80 per cent of the available food in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.
Nearly 1.2 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, particularly important in Latin America where they cover 40 per cent of the region’s land area. An expert panel drawing on the experiences of Mesoamerica’s indigenous people and forest communities discussed how best to support the sustainable management of forests in Latin America at the IFAD meeting that ended Thursday.
“Crops for the Future” was the title of a discussion that focused on how improved crop varieties can enhance the resilience of smallholder farmers in the context of climate change.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fifteen million children suffer from chronic malnutrition in Africa, Kenya worst hit.

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


[NAIROBI] Africa is now a home to 15 million children suffering from chronic malnutrition compared to 1990. This is figure is expected to reach 8.5 million by the close of this decade if no serious interventions are taken.
 A global report by Save the Children released February 15 revealed that, today, two in five African children or 60 million children are malnourished.
The report says that in Kenya, the number of children suffering from malnutrition has increased since 2003 and more than a third of the total children, 35.5 per cent, suffer from chronic malnutrition currently.
According to the report, 'A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition, the situation worsened last year as a result of the drought that affected the arid and semi-arid regions of northern Kenya.
Progress to tackle malnutrition has been slower in Kenya and Africa generally than anywhere else in the world. Soaring food prices and economic downturn in the last year has made it even harder for families to buy enough of the right food for their children.
Half of the world’s malnourished children live in five countries – Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, India and Bangladesh –where half of all families have been forced to spend much less on food according the report.
The report is a snap-shot of the hardship that families are facing in countries where, even before food price spikes, many of the poorest children were already surviving on a diet dominated by a basic staple meal such as white rice, maize or cassava, which have very low nutritional value.  
Save the Children has shown that rising food prices and malnutrition are putting additional pressure on countries with already high burdens of child mortality.
The report warns that over the next 15 years, a further half a billion children’s lives around the world will be left blighted by malnutrition unless something is done now.  
Prasant Naik, Kenya Country Director, Save the Children UK says, “The government of Kenya has made some achievements in reducing hunger and malnutrition. However, the country still lacks a strong political will to tackle child malnutrition, or nutrition champions to lobby for the right policies and practice. There is very weak coordination between the authorities and aid agencies and funding levels for hunger and nutrition have remained low with a greater focus on other sectors.”
Naik applauds the response to last year’s drought but is concerned that chronic malnutrition is not receiving the response it demands. “Chronic malnutrition is suffered by millions of Kenyan children and who remain relatively neglected. This is a crisis that we cannot ignore any more as mortality rates due to malnutrition continue to rise. Stunting impedes the mental and physical development of a child. The child can never reach their full potential, and that undermines the human capital to drive the economy.”
Malnutrition is said to be accounting for a third of all child deaths worldwide, or 2.6 million per year. But it continues attract lo profile investment as opposed to other causes of child mortality like HIV, AIDS or malaria. Child mortality rates from malaria have been cut by a third since 2000, but child malnutrition rates in Africa have decreased by less than 0.3 per cent.
 Human and economic costs occasioned by chronic malnutrition are huge. A chronically malnourished child can have an IQ of up to 15 points less than a child properly nourished. Kenya, it is estimated, lost 95 billion shillings due to stunting in 2010 while the cost of child malnutrition to the global economy was nearly KShs. 10 trillion. 
A substantial increase in investment will be required to expediting practical and basic solutions, which have a high impact on tackling malnutrition. The 1,000 days between pregnancy and age two are the window of opportunity and intervention that are most important to focus on this period.
Iron and foliate supplementation during pregnancy, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, micronutrient supplementation, complementary feeding, good hygiene practices, de-worming and zinc supplementation have proved effective. Additionally, better investment in cash transfers targeted at the poorest families can reduce families’ vulnerability to fluctuating food prices. 
Save the Children has celled for increased budgetary allocation to the health sector, specifically to nutrition related interventions and a multi-sectoral engagement to fund and implement the National Nutrition Action Plan, the country’s blueprint on nutrition intervention.
The organisation also wants nutrition indicators included as a measure for economic growth along with infrastructure, favourable investment environment and sound fiscal policies.
“Malnutrition is increasingly recognised as one of the biggest threats to sustainable economic and social development, but not receiving the commensurate funding and more children continue to die every hour. We need to appreciate the gravity of the situation and take action to channel the manpower, the intellect and resources, coupled with the much needed political will to alleviate malnutrition,” said Wanja Gitonga, Every One Campaign Manager, Save the Children.
“We know what works, but we need an emphatic political will to prioritise malnutrition, keep it at the top, scale up intervention at the national and sub-national levels.”


►The survey results showed that in India, one of the world’s biggest boom economies and where half of all children are stunted, more than a quarter of parents surveyed said their children went without food sometimes or often.

►In Nigeria, nearly a third of parents had pulled their children out of school so they could work to help pay for food.

►In Bangladesh, 87 per cent of those surveyed said the price of food had been their most pressing concern in 2010. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

WHO Announcement on HIV and Injectable Contraception a Responsible Step Forward

Today the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the results of a technical consultation examining the potential link between hormonal contraception and HIV risk. On the advice of its Guidelines Review Committee, WHO concluded that current medical eligibility criteria recommendations should remain—that women at high risk of HIV infection can continue to use all existing hormonal contraceptive methods (oral contraceptives, injectables, patches, rings, and implants) without restriction. It also recommended that women at high risk of HIV who choose progestin-only injectable contraception should be strongly advised to also use condoms and other preventive measures. WHO also called for expansion of the contraceptive method mix and further research on the relationship between hormonal contraception and HIV.

Below is a statement by Population Council president Peter Donaldson in response to the WHO announcement:
"The Population Council welcomes today's announcement from the World Health Organization, which was based on a careful review of the scientific evidence. Many women and men in developing countries where maternal mortality and HIV risk are high urgently want to plan their families and prevent HIV. Today's guidance protects women's rights and health by recommending that women have access to highly effective contraceptive methods, are fully informed about potential risks and benefits, and receive counseling on how to stay safe.
"WHO recommended that providers strongly advise women at high risk of HIV who choose progestin-only injectable contraception to also use condoms and other preventive methods to reduce their risk of HIV. This will encourage clinicians to provide women with full information about potential risks and benefits of contraceptive methods, without unnecessarily impeding access to them.
"For sixty years, the Population Council has conducted important biomedical, social science, and public health research to develop new contraceptive methods and improve the delivery of family planning and other reproductive health services. Today's announcement underscores the need for new, multi-purpose products that prevent both HIV and unintended pregnancy—and for new contraceptive methods that better meet the family planning needs of women in developing countries. The Population Council's Center for Biomedical Research is working on both."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some African sex workers are naturally HIV resistant, a new research has revealed

By Ochieng Ogodo


[NAIROBI] A new research has revealed that some African sex workers are naturally HIV resistant. The research that was led by Dr. Michel Roger of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre and the university’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology found that HIV-resistant sex workers in Africa have a weak inflammatory response in their vaginas – a surprise for the researchers, who were expecting the contrary considering the women’s high exposure to the virus. “In this part of the world, women represent over 60 per cent of HIV cases, and this proportion continues to increase,” Roger said in a press release.
“Studying women who are naturally resistant to the virus enables researchers to identify interesting information in terms of developing vaccinations or microbid gels that could prevent transmission of HIV.” The word microbid refers to something that is able to destroy microbes.
Roger and his team has been working with women from Benin and Zimbabwe over the past fifteen years to get a better idea of the immune and molecular mechanisms involved in the transmission of HIV.
These countries were targeted because of the high number of infected women and the existence of natural resistance in some of them. The study found out that when these women come into contact with the virus, the immune system cells in their vaginas produced fewer inflammatory molecules (cytokines and chemokines) than the same cells in HIV-infected women.
These molecules play a role in activating and recruiting “lymphocyte T-cells” that normally attack and destroy viruses. However, HIV is cunning and actually uses the T-cell to invade the body. “Fewer T-cells means fewer target cells available for the virus to use,” Roger explained.
The researchers discovered that the immune response was very different in the women’s blood than in their vaginal mucous membrane. The findings show that it would undoubtedly be more effective to develop vaccinations that would block the virus at the entry point to the body rather than try to fight it once it is already established within the body’s system.
“AIDS vaccination research has entirely focused on the blood stream and this approach has been a failure,” Roger said. “Our research shows that the immune response is different at the site of the infection, and that we should turn to the entry points in order to find a means for blocking the virus.” A vaccination of this kind could be administered via the nose and would immunize all mucus membranes in the body.
Research will continue in order to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the vaginal immune response. Scientists suspect that genetic factors may be at play, as it has been discovered that sisters living in similar circumstances have the same HIV-resistant profile.
Roger’s latest published research in this area appeared in the PLoS One edition of September 2011. The study “High Level of Soluble HLA-G in the Female Genital Tract of Beninese Commercial Sex Workers Is Associated with HIV-1 Infection” received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Réseau SIDA of the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Many still lack access to energy worldwide

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


[NAIROBI] The world has made massive gains in access to electricity over the last two decades but governments and development organizations must continue to invest in electrification to achieve critical health, environmental, and livelihood outcomes, a new research in Worldwatch’s Vital Signs says.
Between 1990 and 2008, close to 2 billion people worldwide gained access to electricity but the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that more than 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity, while the United Nations estimates that another 1 billion have unreliable access.
The UN General Assembly has designated 2012 as the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All,” providing an opportunity to raise awareness of the extent and impacts of the electrification challenge.
It is estimated that, at least, 2.7 billion people, and possibly more than 3 billion, lack access to modern fuels for cooking and heating.
This lot relies instead on traditional biomass sources, such as firewood, charcoal, manure, and crop residues, known to emit harmful indoor air pollutants when burned.
These pollutants, the study says, cause nearly 2 million premature deaths worldwide each year, an estimated 44 percent of them in children. Among adult deaths, 60 percent are women. Reliance on traditional biomass also contributes to adverse environmental impacts, including forest and woodland degradation, soil erosion, and black carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change.
There is massive variation of electrification between rural and urban areas in developing countries.
For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, the rural electrification rate is just 14 percent, compared with 60 percent in urban areas.
The study has called for improved cook stoves saying they can play an important role in reducing energy poverty, enabling people to utilize more modern fuels or to use traditional fuels more efficiently.
They can double or triple the efficiency of traditional fuels, reducing indoor air pollutants. Consuming less fuel also saves time and money, leaving people with more disposable income and allowing them to invest more in their futures.
A growing number of governments, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and businesses are working to overcome energy poverty, focusing in particular on the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
To date, 68 developing-country governments have adopted formal targets for improving access to electricity; 17 countries have targets for providing access to modern fuels, and 11 have targets for providing access to improved cook stoves.
According to the IEA, some US$1.9 billion was invested worldwide in 2009 in extending access to modern energy services, such as electricity and clean cooking facilities.
The agency projects that between 2010 and 2030, an average of $14 billion will be spent annually, mostly on urban grid connections. But this projected funding will likely still leave 1 billion people, largely those who live in the most remote areas of developing countries, without electricity.
It says that average annual investments will need to rise to $48 billion to provide universal modern energy access.
The study says that the largest populations lacking access to electricity are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. These two regions jointly account for more than 80 percent of all people worldwide lacking electricity access.
But in Latin America, electricity access is generally quite high, at 93.2 percent overall, but Haiti remains a regional outlier, with only 39 percent of its population having access.
Asia has the largest number of people that rely on traditional biomass for energy, with 836 million in India alone. Altogether, 54 percent of the population of developing Asia relies on traditional biomass fuels.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Land grabbing in Africa by foreign investors a ticking time bomb

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


Frenzied sell-off of forests and other prime lands to buyers hungry for the developing world’s natural resources risks sparking widespread civil unrest, a new study that analysed tenure rights in 35 African countries has revealed.
The study released in London on February 1 says this can only be stemmed by national leaders and investors if they recognised the customary rights of millions of poor people who have lived on and worked these lands for centuries
“Controversial land acquisitions were a key factor triggering the civil wars in Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and there is every reason to be concerned that conditions are ripe for new conflicts to occur in many other places,” said Jeffrey Hatcher, director of global programs for the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
Hatcher noted at the release of the report that despite the clear potential for bloodshed, “local land rights are being repeatedly and tragically ignored during an astonishing buying spree across Africa.”
The review found that the majority of 1.4 billion hectares of rural land, including forests, rangelands or marshlands, are claimed by states, but held in common by communities, affecting “a minimum” of 428 million of the rural poor in sub-Saharan Africa. “Every corner of every state has a customary owner,” International land rights specialist Liz Alden Wily said
RRI brought together experts to release new findings on land tenure and investor risk worldwide, and to explore the land conflicts that have fractured Liberia and South Sudan. Aggravating the unrest in both countries were unilateral government decisions to sell off resources held on community lands.
Indigenous and traditional communities excluded
The land rights experts noted that indigenous and traditional communities are not generally opposed to economic development but are outraged by their total exclusion from a process that threatens to deprive them of land and resources essential to their survival. Wily’s analysis revealed that two-thirds of all the lands and resources investors are acquiring in the latest global land rush are in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Liberia and South Sudan, the experts said local communities are beginning to react to the impact land deals are having on traditional access to forests, rangelands and marshes. In Liberia, where 30 percent of the country is reported to be under timber, mining and agricultural concessions, local villagers have blocked the plans of a Malaysian company to plant oil palms on lands leased from the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
There are reports that the government is quietly issuing new “private use permits” to logging companies, violating national laws and the rights of local communities, and possibly undermining a recent pact signed in May 2011 with the European Union (EU) to ensure that timber exported to the EU is derived from legal sources and benefits the people of Liberia.
“The world is at a turning point in the global land grab, with the addition of dozens of new players, including the BRICs, South Africa and the nations of the Middle East, who are combing the planet for the natural resources required to sustain their rapid development,” said RRI’s Andy White. “The epic clash of this demand for land and resources—whether in the forests of Liberia, or in the quilombolas (former slave communities) in the Brazilian Amazon—is highly combustible, and must be resolved.”
Of the 35 African nations covered in the analysis, only nine got high marks for being “broadly positive” for their treatment of local, customary rights. The others were graded either “mixed” or “negative.”
The nations ranked “most positive” were Uganda, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Southern Sudan. But even in those countries the laws are not respected in practice, and local communities are rarely included in negotiating the terms of a purchase or lease, even in countries where laws recognize such lands as private property.
“With the speed and scale of this surge into Africa in the last five years, the chief concern should be that investors are cutting deals with governments for land that really belongs to individual rural communities,” said Wily, who was interviewed in advance of the RRI event in London.
White said that engaging investors will be key to protecting the land rights of local communities, and that, in turn, will be critical to achieving the goals of slowing climate change, ensuring food security, and reducing poverty embraced by negotiators and advocates at United Nations meetings such as December’s COP-17 in Durban.
“Investors have much to lose if they fail to consider the customary rights of local communities,” White said. “Civil unrest will be the outcome, and it will affect their bottom line. So respecting and strengthening tenure rights is a win-win for investors, and for the people who currently view the vast forests and pastures of the developing world as their own.”
Experts said it’s too early to predict whether the spate of land deals recently negotiated in sub-Saharan Africa will produce widespread and destabilizing conflicts. But relatively few large-scale enterprises are fully established, White noted, so the people who will be affected by the deals have yet to realize their forests, marshes and rangelands have been sold or leased.
“Communities often do not find out what is going on until the bulldozers arrive,” White said.
Increasingly, however, local communities and the NGOs that support them are learning more about their rights and how to enforce them.
Liberia and South Sudan
A broad coalition of Liberian organizations, including the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI, Liberia) and Green Advocates Liberia, today charged their government with issuing alternative “private use permits” on an estimated 700,000 hectares of forestland. They argued in a press release and accompanying report that the new permits allow the companies to sidestep national laws and that it goes against the spirit of the country’s pact with the EU, known as the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). 
A legally-binding trade agreement between Liberia and the EU, the VPA will go into effect in 2013. It defines what constitutes legal timber and sets up an assurance system able to verify compliance and ensure that timber for export can be traced back to the source.
In South Sudan is one of the countries cited for doing a good job of protecting customary rights under the law, the government signed deals for control of nine percent of the new nation's lands even before announcing its independence. With agreements signed since 2011, the percentage is expected to be even higher, said David Deng, research director, South Sudan Law Society, South Sudan.
"I would remind them that land was at the heart of the civil war in South Sudan," said Deng, who spoke at the RRI event today. "And now, with independence, communities expect that the sacrifices that they made during the war will be repaid by recognizing the legitimacy of their customary land tenure. Anything less would undermine the nation’s fragile peace,” Deng said.

Kenya continues to drag its feet in recognising indigenous peoples’ ownership of Wildlife Park

By Ochieng’ Ogodo

[NAIROBI] The Kenya government has been accused of lack of commitment to ensuring justice for the Endorois people and has been urged to immediately restore ownership to the community of their ancestral lands around the Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
The Minority Rights Group International (MRG) said the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) recognized indigenous people’s rights over traditional occupied lands and to be involved in benefits from any development affecting this land but this was not the case with the Endorois.
“The Endorois still have no land title, have received no compensation for the loss they suffered during almost 40 years, nor a significant share in tourism revenue from their land,” MRG said in press statement on Feb 1.
“Two years on from the African Commission’s ruling the Endorois are still waiting for justice to be brought home. The government’s lack of engagement with the community is of extreme concern and, inevitably, it raises questions about their commitment to the high ideals to be found in Kenya’s new Constitution,’ says Carla Clarke, MRG’s Head of Law.
In an attempt to pressure the government and highlight their continued situation, the Endorois have repeatedly raised their case with the African Commission and the United Nations. However, attempts to engage with the government have failed to illicit even one meeting between the community, its representatives and government officials.
They said Kenya adopted a new Constitution in August 2010, which, together with a new National Land Policy, supported the Commission’s decision in recognising indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands.
‘In view of Kenya’s new Constitution, which provides for the establishment of a National Land Commission to review past abuses and recommend appropriate redress, it is particularly important that the government implements the Commission’s decision without further delay,’ added Clarke.
Endorois land was originally appropriated by the Kenyan government in the 1970s to create the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. On February 2, 2010, the African Union adopted a decision of the ACHPR which declared firstly that the expulsion of Endorois from their lands was illegal, and that the Kenyan government had violated certain fundamental rights of the community protected under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other international instruments.
The semi-nomadic indigenous Endorois community of approximately 60,000 people, who for centuries have earned their livelihoods from herding cattle and goats in the Lake Bogoria area of Kenya’s Rift Valley.
But the flocking of tourists to Lake Bogoria, renowned for its flamingos and geysers, has little idea of the high cost the Endorois paid for their eviction. Most people in this community still live in debilitating poverty, have little or no electricity and walk miles to collect water in drought stricken an area. They often dependent on relief food.
Because of wildlife reserve, the Endorois have been unable to gather the plants they once relied on for medicinal purposes, conduct religious ceremonies at their sacred sites or visit the graves of their ancestors.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Infants enrolled in Africa for Phase II trials of a TB vaccine.

By Ochieng’ Ogodo

A Phase II clinical trials aimed at developing TB vaccine and began in October 2010, has already enrolled infants at three sites in Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique. The goal of the trial is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of vaccine candidate AERAS-402/Crucell Ad35 in HIV-uninfected infants.
This trial has received significant support from, among others, the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and European Member States.
And the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), has joined as a partner for the Phase II proof-of-concept clinical trial of a tuberculosis vaccine candidate jointly developed by Aeras and Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell.
 The first NIAID-supported site to join the clinical trial is the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) located in Soweto, South Africa at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.  The research site is a member of NIAID-funded clinical trial networks that includes the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT).
"Our novel collaboration with NIAID comes as multiple TB vaccine candidates are poised to enter efficacy trials requiring thousands of participants and significant investment, as well as complex infrastructure and sophisticated expertise," said Jim Connolly, President and CEO of Aeras in après release.
 "We are grateful for the partnership of one of the most well-respected biomedical research institutes in the world, and the opportunity to utilize well-established clinical sites," he added. 
NIH has a long history of supporting TB vaccine development. But this is the first time for it to leverage its HIV/AIDS clinical trial networks to advance a tuberculosis vaccine candidate.
Along with the recent announcement of NIAID's new partnership in a Phase III TB drug trial, this collaboration follows the NIAID plan to leverage infrastructure originally intended for HIV-related clinical trials to also advance tuberculosis vaccine and therapeutic research for both HIV uninfected and infected populations.
One-third of the world's population is infected with tuberculosis. Infants and people who are immune compromised, including those with HIV infection, are at higher risk of developing active TB. Safe and effective vaccines hold promise for protecting these at-risk populations.
"NIAID's involvement in this important clinical trial will maximize return on U.S. government investment in clinical research infrastructure while accelerating progress against the world's deadliest infectious disease after HIV/AIDS," said Mary Woolley, CEO and President of Research America, the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance committed to research.