This week, journalists took us to the insectary at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to find out what sequestration will do to the search for malaria vaccine there. We also learned about a place that gets 12 times as much rain as our headquarters’ hometown, Seattle, and yet doesn’t have enough clean water, and saw our own CEO widely quoted on the “iPods” of poverty alleviation.
Sequestration puts malaria vaccine trial in jeopardy
Voice of America, March 12, 2013
No buzz is heard. But you can almost feel the vibration of 10,000 mosquitoes … Welcome to the mosquito insectary at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. It’s where insects are grown and vaccines are developed. Scientists here want to create the first malaria vaccine the world has known—to protect U.S. soldiers in malaria-prone countries. Drug companies would produce the vaccine and extend its protection to half the world’s population that lives in countries where malaria is present. But, officials say the mandatory budget cuts, called sequestration, will affect further testing of a potentially cutting-edge malaria vaccine, soon to be published.
Rain or not, India is falling short on drinkable water
The New York Times, March 12, 2013
Almost no place on Earth gets more rain than this small hill town. Nearly 40 feet falls every year—more than 12 times what Seattle gets. Storms often drop more than a foot a day. The monsoon is epic. But during the dry season from November through March, many in this corner of India struggle to find water. Some are forced to walk long distances to fill jugs in springs or streams. Taps in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya State, spout water for just a few hours a day. And when it arrives, the water is often not drinkable.
More than 200 million women will need contraception by 2015
Huffington Post, March 11, 2013
The percentage of married women or women in couples who use at least one contraceptive method has grown over the past two decades, from 55 percent in 1990 to 63 percent in 2010. But new projections suggest that the demand for modern contraception remains high: By 2015, 233 million women worldwide will have an unmet need for contraception, according to a United Nations study published Monday.
To reduce global poverty, we need to tackle noncommunicable diseases
Forbes, March 11, 2013
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)—including cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes—are the leading causes of death in the world, by far. In its most recent report, the World Health Organization estimates that of the 57 million deaths in 2008, 36 million, or 63 percent, were due to noncommunicable disease. A quarter of those were people younger than 60; millions more live with the debilitating effects of these diseases for years.
Meet your new R&D team: social entrepreneurs
Bloomberg, March 8, 2013
The smartest minds in social innovation are increasingly committed to engaging with the private sector to make significant changes in areas like health, education, and poverty. As Steve Davis, former lead in McKinsey’s Social Innovation practice and president of the global health NGO, PATH, has said: “The best social innovations are not necessarily widely adopted. The ‘iPods’ of poverty alleviation and literacy have likely been invented and put to use by small organizations in some corner of the globe, but there is no market for identifying these breakthrough ideas and ensuring widespread adoption.”