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Feb 19, 2016

Niger needs 3.2 million doses of meningitis vaccines to ward off a possible epidemic after a spike that has seen dozens of cases reported since January. Added to existing reserves, the additional doses would allow officials to immunize 2.8 million people in one of the poorest countries on earth. The WHO had warned in December of a risk of fresh meningitis outbreaks in 2016 in Africa, particularly in Niger and Nigeria, which were both badly hit last year. The risk was deemed to be specially high in parts of Niger hit by the epidemic in 2015 where people vaccination was only partially completed.

The organizer of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games plans to issue safety criteria by the end of this year regarding food served at the Olympic and media villages. The move emerged at the London Olympics in 2012, where organizers introduced strict food safety standards. It adopted internationally recognized food safety initiatives, such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and certification by the Marine Stewardship Council. The Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer has set similar criteria for food served there, and Tokyo has committed to continue the effort.

A team at Adimab, an antibody drug discovery company in Lebanon, NH, discovered and characterized 349 antibodies of interest from the blood of an Ebola survivor. It’s the largest set of anti-Ebola antibodies described yet in the scientific literature. Besides finding antibodies that potently bind with a known molecular target on the virus, the team identified another molecular target that antibody drugs or vaccines could be specifically aimed at.

Three new reports, including a population study in Africa and two meta-analyses, suggest that pneumococcal vaccines provide moderate protection against invasive pneumococcal pneumonia in children and adults but only limited protection against all-cause pneumonia.

As scientists have tried to solve the medical mystery behind the surge of babies being born with devastating birth defects in Brazil, they’ve pieced together evidence that the mosquito-borne Zika virus may be to blame. But in northeast Brazil, many residents have fashioned a rival theory: that the defects are caused by government-issued vaccines.

A chemical free, nanotechnology-based, antimicrobial platform using Engineered Water Nanostructures (EWNS) was recently developed to more effectively address foodborne diseases and food spoilage. Microbial contamination is a leading cause of foodborne illnesses, caused by the ingestion of pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins. Currently chemical, radiation, and thermal, antimicrobial interventions used for food safety assurance are primarily implemented at limited Critical Control Points (CCPs) of the production chain, and not in a continuous manner, leaving fresh produce more susceptible to cross contamination.

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