Category Archives: Research

Glowing Cats are Resistant to Feline AIDS

KITTEH?!

Read the full article here.

Smelly socks tested in Tanzania as way to prevent malaria

Um, what? That’s right: “Previous lab studies have shown that smelly socks work well in attracting mosquitoes,” and now doctors are pioneering a way to use these smelly socks to lure malaria-ridden socks into a traps where they become contaminated with poison and die. Read the whole article here.

Here’s hoping it works.

Two studies show that drugs used to treat AIDS can prevent HIV infection

Two studies announced Wednesday, July 13 show Gilead Science Inc.’s Truvada pill helped prevent the spread of the AIDS virus between heterosexual couples in Africa. The drug is already used to treat people with HIV.

Read the whole article here.

Tuberculosis Accounts for 1/3 of AIDS Deaths Worldwide

That’s why the study highlighted in this article, which demonstrates that a new vaccine reduced the rate of tuberculosis in HIV-positive people by 39%, is so important in both fighting tuberculosis and AIDS. Usually HIV-positive individuals cannot get a TB vaccine because the bacteria could re-activate in a weak immune system (for a similar article from last year, read here or here).

“Development of a new vaccine against tuberculosis is a major international health priority, especially for patients with HIV infection,” Ford von Reyn, director of the DarDar International Programs for the Section on Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth Medical School, said.

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Association Shown Between Climate, Conflict in Africa

A unique piece of research: U.S. Researchers are suggesting that conflict in Africa was 50% more likely in warm years, supporting prior research that showed a link between conflict and rainfall. Crop yields are extremely sensitive to shifts in temperature, even if only 1/2 a degree, and food shortages may increase the likelihood of civil strife. Databases of temperature across sub-Saharan Africa were correlated with civil conflict where over 1,000 people died.

“Our findings provide strong impetus to ramp up investments in African adaptation to climate change by such steps as developing crop varieties less sensitive to extreme heat and promoting insurance plans to help protect farmers from adverse effects of the hotter climate,” said Dr. Burke from the University of California at Berkeley.

Read the full article here.

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Independent Experts Conclude: Comprehensive Sex Ed Works

“At long last, evidence and common sense have returned to public-health policy,” said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth. “The task force report endorses the comprehensive approach to prevention that includes condoms and birth control. We should be spending taxpayer dollars only on evidence-based programs.”

AIDSTanzania supports the findings of this study, and it’s good to see comprehensive sex education finally get the credit it deserves. Read the full article here.

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Awards $760K to Transform Global Health

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding 76 grants of $100,000 for ideas to transform health in developing countries. The grants are part of the foundations’s Grand Explorations Challenges to fund such innovative health ideas as killing mosquito larvae with toxic micropellets and creating an intranasal malaria vaccine for pregnant women.

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First, a vaccine in Thailand…now, one in Tanzania?

An article on Physorg.com reveals the results of a small Phase II HIV vaccine

HIV Virus

HIV Virus

trial in Tanzania: “An HIV vaccine tested in Tanzania has shown positive results in preliminary trials and may provide better protection than a promising Thai vaccine unveiled on September 24, Swedish researchers said Monday.” (Read the full article here).

One of the reasons for the increased success (up to 50% protection vs. 30% in the Thailand study) is that this vaccine included more strains of the virus. The vaccine was tested in 60 healthy Tanzanian policemen. The results will be presented at an HIV/AIDS vaccine conference in Paris on Wednesday.

So much in the news lately about HIV vaccines, and now Tanzania has been involved as well. We’ll have to watch closely over the next few months to see if this trial moves to Phase III (a larger-scale investigation) or if anything substantial comes out of the Thailand trial.

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A reminder that fighting AIDS should not be the only fight…

A lot of the disease-fighting focus in Tanzania, and in Africa as a whole, is to HIV/AIDS. Many people see this as the overwhelming problem and forget that many people struggle against more basic, more preventable, more treatable diseases – such as cholera.

A cholera outbreak in northeastern Tanzania has resulted in 12 deaths and the closing of schools until November 1 (read more here).

Though AIDSTanzania is primarily focused on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, we have realized the need to broaden our vision. For example, we cannot teach someone about how to prevent contracting HIV when they are struggling with malaria or TB or cholera. Additionally, if someone has one of these diseases their immune system and body are already weakened, and research shows that they may contract HIV more easily while sick. We must start with a comprehensive (or holistic) approach to health and education.

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Optimism Surrounding HIV Vaccine Trial – Thailand

News sources everywhere are publishing optimistic headlines about the largest ever HIV vaccine trial going on right now in Thailand. But how excited should we really be? An article from UNAIDS spells out exactly what’s going on, and what it means for the world.

The study results reveal that there is a 31.2% vaccine efficacy in preventing HIV infections. While this can only be charaterized as modestly effective, these results represent new hope in HIV vaccine development. Basically, the vaccine in question, RV144, cannot be put on the market, but the data collected in Thailand this September could serve as an important foundation for the discovery of a highly effective vaccine.

The article also mentions another obstacle standing in the way of RV144; researches yet need to illucidate weather RV144 would be applicable to other regions of the world where different HIV subtypes are predominant against different host genetic backgrounds.

UNAIDS and WHO stress that until a highly effective vaccine becomes available, proven preventative messures should still be practiced.

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