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Polio spread in Cameroon - which borders troubled CAR - a concern: WHO expert

The Canadian official who heads the WHO's polio eradication effort says of the many challenges facing the quarter-century-old program, evidence of polio in Cameroon — which borders on the troubled Central African Republic — is currently one of the most concerning. The polio eradication campaign has faced a number of significant setbacks in the past year or so, with outbreaks in the Horn of Africa — Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia — as well as war-torn Syria.

GlaxoSmithKline throws in towel on lung cancer vaccine trial

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) has stopped a high-profile clinical trial using a novel vaccine to fight lung cancer after deciding it will not be possible to find a sub-group of patients who might benefit. The decision comes less than two weeks after GSK said the MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine did not help patients with non-small cell lung cancer in the Phase III study overall, but it was still looking for improvements among patients with a particular genetic profile.

WHO certifies India, other Asian nations polio free

The World Health Organisation officially certified India and 10 other Asian countries free of polio on Thursday, a milestone lauded as a "momentous victory" over an ancient scourge. The Southeast Asian region, which includes India but excludes Afghanistan and Pakistan, was certified by a panel of experts after the countries went three years without reporting a single new case. The WHO said the certification meant 80 percent of the world's population lived in polio-free regions and was an important step towards global eradication of the crippling disease.

India declared polio-free, but global risks persist

By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI, March 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The World Health Organization declared India free of the crippling polio virus on Thursday, making the country's almost two-decade-long, multi-billion-dollar effort one of the biggest public health achievements in recent times. India's last case of the wild polio virus was detected in January 2011 in a two-year-old girl in the state of West Bengal. Three years without any new cases means a country can be certified as polio-free.

Novartis loss-making vaccines division gets British boost

ZURICH (Reuters) - The turnaround prospects for Novartis' loss-making vaccines division were given a boost on Friday as a key committee recommended including the Swiss drugmaker's meningitis B vaccine on Britain's routine vaccination program. The Basel-based drugmaker said the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) had recommended that infants from two months of age be vaccinated with Bexsero to help protect against "MenB", a bacterial infection that can kill in 24 hours and poses the greatest risk to infants.

Can't remember when your tetanus booster is due? Now your smartphone can

TORONTO - If you are like most people, you have absolutely no clue when you last had a tetanus shot or when your polio booster is due. Even if you have a yellow immunization book, you may not know where to find it. And if you're a parent, you may have a hard time keeping track of when your daughter is due for an HPV vaccination or which vaccinations your son will get in Grade 9. A new smartphone app could make those hassles a thing of the past.

GSK cancer vaccine fails again but testing continues

By Ben Hirschler (Reuters) - An experimental cancer vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline has failed in a second test - this time against lung cancer - but the British company said it still hoped to identify a sub-group of patients in which it would work. Thursday's news that the MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine did not help patients with non-small cell lung cancer in a late-stage study is a further blow to the high-risk, high-reward project after a similar setback in melanoma in September.

Attack on polio team kills two policemen in NW Pakistan

Two policemen guarding a polio vaccination team in northwest Pakistan were were shot dead by armed men on Tuesday, police said, the latest setback to efforts to eradicate the crippling disease. Militant strikes and threats of violence have badly hampered a campaign to stamp out polio in Pakistan, which along with Nigeria and Afghanistan are the only countries where the disease remains endemic.

Save the Children describes healthcare disaster in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Newborns freezing to death in hospital incubators, doctors cutting off limbs to stop patients from bleeding to death, surging cases of polio: a new report published on Monday paints a dire picture of Syria's collapsing healthcare system. The report, issued by charity Save the Children, said some 60 percent of Syria's hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the three-year-old conflict and nearly half of its doctors have fled the country.

Polio's last stand on the Afghan-Pakistan border

Trundling across the Afghan-Pakistani border in a handcart, Shayma dismisses militant threats and conspiracy theories about polio vaccinators while her four children receive drops that could finally eradicate the crippling disease. About 1.3 million oral vaccinations are administered every year to children at the Torkham Gate crossing, the focal point of an intense global campaign to eradicate polio by 2018.
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