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  • Ebola vaccine efficacy trial ready to launch in Guinea
  • Based on promising data from initial clinical trials in late 2014, WHO with the Health Ministry of Guinea, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Epicentre and The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), will launch a Phase III trial in Guinea on 7 March to test the VSV-EBOV vaccine for efficacy and effectiveness to prevent Ebola. The vaccine was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. A second vaccine will be tested in a sequential study, as supply becomes available.

    “We have worked hard to reach this point,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “There has been massive mobilization on the part of the affected countries and all partners to accelerate the development and availability of proven interventions. If a vaccine is found effective, it will be the first preventive tool against Ebola in history.”
  • Thu, 05 Mar 2015 | WHO news
  • WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children
  • A new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

    Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
  • Wed, 04 Mar 2015 | WHO news
  • Statement on the 4th IHR Emergency Committee meeting regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus
  • The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the international spread of wild poliovirus in 2014 - 15 was convened via teleconference by the Director-General on 17 February 2015. The following IHR States Parties submitted an update on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 13 November 2014: Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

    The Committee noted that the international spread of wild poliovirus has continued with one new exportation from Pakistan into neighbouring Afghanistan documented after 13 November 2014. Although there is seasonal decline in the number of reported cases in Pakistan, transmission is ongoing in each of the four provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Committee assessed the risk of international spread from Pakistan to be sustained. The Committee appreciated that Pakistan has prepared a new robust ‘low season’ vaccination plan, established national and provincial emergency operations centres, and resumed campaigns in South and North Waziristan. Nonetheless, the principal factors underpinning the international spread of wild poliovirus from Pakistan have not yet changed sufficiently since the date of the third meeting of the Emergency Committee on 13 November 2014.
  • Fri, 27 Feb 2015 | WHO news
  • 1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss
  • Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.

    Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibles (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.
  • Fri, 27 Feb 2015 | WHO news
  • WHO calls for worldwide use of "smart" syringes
  • Use of the same syringe or needle to give injections to more than one person is driving the spread of a number of deadly infectious diseases worldwide. Millions of people could be protected from infections acquired through unsafe injections if all healthcare programmes switched to syringes that cannot be used more than once. For these reasons, WHO is launching a new policy on injection safety to help all countries tackle the pervasive issue of unsafe injections.*

    A 2014 study sponsored by WHO, which focused on the most recent available data, estimated that in 2010, up to 1.7 million people were infected with hepatitis B virus, up to 315 000 with hepatitis C virus and as many as 33 800 with HIV through an unsafe injection. New WHO injection safety guidelines and policy released today provide detailed recommendations highlighting the value of safety features for syringes, including devices that protect health workers against accidental needle injury and consequent exposure to infection.
  • Mon, 23 Feb 2015 | WHO news