News Scan for Nov 03, 2014

More chikungunya cases
Malaria vaccine funding

Chikungunya outbreak case numbers edge closer toward 800,000

The chikungunya outbreak in the Caribbean and the Americas has added 4,481 suspected and confirmed cases this week, bringing the total to 793,563, according to an Oct 31 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The largest increases came in Colombia, with 2,740 new suspected and confirmed cases, and Puerto Rico, with 1,534. Chile saw its first case. Confirmed cases, currently numbering 13,357, make up a small portion of the total cases.

One new death from the disease occurred, in Puerto Rico, bringing the total fatal cases overall to 153. Martinique has had the most cases, with 74, and Guadeloupe has had 65.
Oct 31 PAHO update
Oct 24 CIDRAP News scan


PATH receives Gates grant to develop malaria vaccine

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) received a $156 million grant to develop a vaccine that will combat malaria infection on several fronts, according to a news release yesterday from PATH MVI.

The award, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will allow the MVI to focus on building malaria vaccines that disrupt the cycle of parasite transmission between humans and female Anopheles mosquitoes. The ideal vaccine will both prevent people from being infected with malaria after being bitten by an infected mosquito and prevent people from transmitting the parasite back to mosquitoes, the alert said.

Building a vaccine that interrupts the malaria transmission cycle targets the parasite when it's weakest, the release said.

The MVI proposes to have a vaccine candidate for development by the end of 2017. According to the news release, the vaccine will include new antigens validated with monoclonal antibodies, rather than prototype vaccines, to ensure that issues with effectiveness don't arise late in the process. The use of new antigens will allow vaccine recipients to develop "unnatural immunity," potentially helping to stop the growth of malarial resistance to drugs and insecticides.
Nov 2 PATH MVI news release

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