The world's first vaccine against dengue, developed by French drugmaker Sanofi, has shown the ability to protect against disease caused by three of four dengue virus strains in a keenly awaited clinical trial in Thailand.
Sanofi said on Wednesday the proof of efficacy was "a key milestone" in the 70-year quest to develop a viable dengue shot, adding the results also confirmed the safety profile of the vaccine candidate.
The mosquito-borne disease - also known as "breakbone fever" - is a threat to nearly 3 billion people and is caused by four different types of virus, none of which confers immunity from the others.
Sanofi's vaccine generated an antibody response for all four dengue virus types, but evidence of protection was only demonstrated against three of the four circulating in Thailand. Sanofi said researchers were carrying out analyses to understand the lack of protection for the fourth serotype.
The company's vaccine unit, Sanofi Pasteur, has already invested 350 million euros ($423 million) in a new French factory to make the three-dose vaccine and believes its product could generate 1 billion euros in yearly sales.
But uptake of the vaccine will depend on precisely how well doctors believe it can protect populations at risk in fast-expanding tropical cities from Rio to Manila, as well as travelers.
Sanofi gave no details on the level of protection in a brief statement. The full data are now being reviewed by scientific experts and public health officials, with detailed results to be published later this year.
Sanofi previously said it planned to present the findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Atlanta in November.
Large-scale late-stage Phase III clinical studies with 31,000 participants are under way with Sanofi's vaccine in 10 countries in Asia and Latin America.
MSF (Doctors Without Borders) has deployed 1,000 of its own staff in the stricken region, running centres that currently have 300 beds
On Wednesday, the residents of the two communities woke up just after the president ordered the quarantine only to find their community barricaded with soldiers and police officers preventing people from leaving or entering the two areas.
They were given ZMapp, a drug used on a handful of patients in the West African outbreak and produced by U.S.-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical.
A local priest who asked not to be named said that the illness had affected several villages and estimated that the death toll was over 100 people.
The calculation highlights the dilemma facing officials considering how to distribute the tiny quantities of unproven drugs that are likely to be available in the near term
"We are hopeful and grateful to God and to the medical team that they are showing signs of improvement," Liberia's Information Minister Lewis Brown told a press conference on Tuesday.
The decision came as the Ivorian national football team is due to face Sierra Leone, one of the countries that had been hard hit by the Ebola outbreak, next month in Abidjan as part of the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifiers.
Infant products are particularly vulnerable to food safety scares in China after powdered milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of at least six infants in 2008
Countries that do not have Ebola cases must strengthen their capacity to detect and contain any cases immediately, the WHO said
At least twenty patients broke out of quarantine in the Liberian capital after protesters looted a medical clinic.
At the end of last year, 13,254 tonnes of spent fuel was being held in temporary storage at nuclear plants, according to data from the commission, mostly in water tanks but some in concrete containers.
The 35-year-old Nigerian woman was en route to India on a treatment tour from advanced cancer.
Doctors Without Borders International President Joanne Liu said it will take six months to bring the Ebola virus under control in West Africa.
The death toll from the world's worst outbreak of Ebola stood on Wednesday at 1,069 from 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, the agency said
Chinese scientists said Tibetan glaciers had shrunk 15 percent - around 8,000 square km (3,100 square miles) - over the past 30 years.