Press release

Africa’s first Lassa fever vaccine clinical trial begins in Ghana

INOVIO (NASDAQ:INO), a biotechnology company focused on bringing to market precisely designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer, today announced the first participant was dosed in a Phase 1B clinical trial for INO-4500, its DNA vaccine candidate for Lassa fever, in Ghana. The Phase 1B clinical trial (LSV-002), ongoing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, is the first vaccine clinical trial for Lassa Fever to be conducted in West

Pooled COVID-19 tests may offer more efficient surveillance while maintaining sensitivity

Pooled testing for COVID-19 can maintain the accuracy of test results while reducing the use of testing resources by as much as 76%, according to two new studies of nasopharyngeal test samples. Widespread testing is critical to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as it allows authorities to trace the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and implement effective mitigation measures. However, testing large populations with individual tests is resource-intensive, and breakdowns in supply chains and limitations on testing speeds have severely held back

New tools to help countries build effective childhood cancer programmes

A suite of tools to help countries improve diagnosis and treatment of cancer among children is being released today by the World Health Organization, on International Childhood Cancer Day. The package includes a “how-to” guide for policy-makers, cancer control programme managers and hospital managers; an assessment tool to inform implementation; and a multilingual online portal for information-sharing. The new tools will support countries with implementation of the CureAll approach, adopted by WHO’s Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer.  The Initiative, launched in 2018,

No public funds should be spent on food contributing to unhealthy diets – WHO DG

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised governments to refrain from spending public funds on food contributing to unhealthy diets. He described this decision as a way for governments to lead by example. “Now is the time for governments to lead by example through ensuring that the food served or sold in public settings contributes to healthy diets and saves lives. No public funds should be spent on food contributing to unhealthy diets,” said WHO DG, Dr

There is an approved treatment for Ebola

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Ebanga (Ansuvimab-zykl), a human monoclonal antibody, for the treatment for Zaire ebolavirus (Ebolavirus) infection in adults and children. Ebanga blocks binding of the virus to the cell receptor, preventing its entry into the cell. FDA granted the approval to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, LP. Ebanga was granted an Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage drug development for rare diseases. Additionally, the agency granted Ebanga a Breakthrough Therapy designation. “Patients who receive Ebanga should avoid

Nigeria, others to benefit from US govt’s $4bn COVID-19 vaccine fund

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, and other countries across the continent and beyond that qualify to enjoy support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will benefit from the final approval of the United States’ commitment to provide Gavi with US$ 4 billion in COVID-19 supplemental funding. These resources, which were included in a larger omnibus funding package, will ensure that lower-income economies have equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, helping to end the acute phase of the pandemic. In a statement, Gavi

There is a new promising drug combination for melanoma

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) have identified a potential drug combination to treat uveal melanoma, a type of eye cancer. Lead author Amanda Truong, trainee in the McMahon Lab at HCI and student at the U of U, explains uveal melanoma patients frequently have changes in genes called GNAQ and GNA11, which are key targets for these drugs. This study was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. “Uveal melanoma is a relatively

New drug outperforms PreP in preventing HIV among African women

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has announced that it is strongly encouraged by new study results showing that the antiretroviral medicine cabotegravir, which is administered by injection every two months, prevents HIV among women. The study shows that the long-acting injections among women in sub-Saharan Africa were 89% more efficient in preventing HIV compared to daily tablets of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). “These results are hugely significant. UNAIDS has long been calling for additional, acceptable and effective HIV prevention options

COVID-19’s impact on HIV treatment less severe than originally feared

While recent data collection has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on HIV testing services, the impact on HIV treatment is less than originally feared. As of August 2020, the UNAIDS, World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund data collection exercise to identify national, regional and global disruptions of routine HIV services caused by COVID-19 had collected treatment data from 85 countries, of which 22 countries reported data over a sufficient number of months to enable the identification

President Buhari joins global call for People’s Vaccine for COVID-19

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that Nigeria will be joining the urgent global call for a People’s Vaccine for COVID-19. The President endorsed the initiative and released an official public statement in favour of the campaign. “Learning from the painful lessons from a history of unequal access in dealing with diseases such as HIV we must heed the warning that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”,” said Mr Buhari.