Expression, purification, and characterization of the Necator americanus aspartic protease-1 (Na-APR-1 (M74)) antigen, a component of the bivalent human hookworm vaccine

. . .the achievements and obstacles encountered during process development as well as characterization and stability of the purified Na-APR-1 (M74) protein and formulated vaccine. The expression, purification and analysis of purified Na-APR-1 (M74) protein obtained from representative 5 kg reproducibility runs is also presented. Open access:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2015.1036207#abstract

The Onchocerciasis Vaccine for Africa—TOVA—Initiative

Hotez et al.

An onchocerciasis vaccine for Africa would build on past investments in OCP and APOC and support future investments planned under PENDA to help achieve elimination of onchocerciasis. TOVA has begun to explore innovative financing mechanisms from major foundations, governments in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, as well as some of the major development banks committed to poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. We strongly encourage the global public health community to embrace the prospect of an onchocerciasis vaccine and to incorporate plans for a vaccine’s development into future public policy and strategic plan considerations.

Read the rest of the article here

Science for the Poor: Making Vaccines to Combat Poverty

Is it possible to vaccinate against poverty?

According to the World Bank, an estimated 2.4 billion people live on less than $2 per day, while 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25 per day — a group often referred to as “the bottom billion”. We now know that almost all of the bottom billion and many of those living on less than $2 per day remain trapped in poverty because they are chronically debilitated by a group of afflictions known as the neglected tropical diseases, or ‘NTDs’.

NTDs are long-lasting parasitic and related infections such as ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, trachoma, Chagas disease, and leishmaniasis. The major point is that these NTDs can actually cause poverty either because they make people too sick to go to work and limit agricultural productivity, or because they strike children at vulnerable times, thereby stunting their physical and intellectual development. NTDs also disproportionately affect pregnant women, making them ill and causing them to produce low birth weight or premature infants.

Read the rest here

Where Are the Scientist-Advocates and Civic-Scientists?

The flattening in support for biomedical research as well as other research fields in the United States over the last decade is having serious consequences for American science and scientists. Ultimately, we need a new generation of scientist-advocates and policy experts if we expect to reverse this trend.

The losses are real. The most recent news is that through sequestration there is a looming $1.6 billion cut to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by far the largest public funder of biomedical research. Since 2003, the NIH budget has risen only 15 percent to just over $30 billion. Even before sequestration (taking inflation into account) the NIH provides 20 percent less in support for biomedical research annually than it used to 10 years ago.

Read the rest here