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National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
Ming-Fu Chang has completed his Ph.D. from University of Southern California. He is the professor of Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine. He has published more than 50 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as a duputy editor in chief of Journal Formosan Medical Association.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), an atypical variant of pneumonia, emerged in 2012 and spread to 27 countries. Until 2019, the MERS epidemic is still considered as a significant threat to human beings as its mortality rate is around 36%. MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a novel lineage C betacoronavirus classified as a member of the Coronaviridae family was identified as the causative pathogen of MERS. The structural proteins comprise a spike glycoprotein (S), a membrane glycoprotein (M), a small envelope protein (E), and a nucleocapsid protein. hDPP4 was identified to be the functional receptor for MERS-CoV. To date, no drugs and vaccines have been clinically approved to control MERS-CoV infection. One of the most promising tools in vaccine development is the use of recombinant-based virus-like particles (VLPs). VLPs are multiprotein structures closely resembling natural virions and lack viral genetic materials. In addition, VLPs display intact and biochemically active antigens on their surface and thus, show high immunogenicity and antigenicity. Importantly, VLPs interact with the host immune system inducing humoral and cellular responses similarly to the native pathogen. In this study, MERS-CoV VLPs containing S, M, and E proteins were produced by baculovirus expression system. Results showed that MERS-CoV VLPs with diameters approximately 100 nm were detected by electron microscopy, and spike protein appeared around the spherical particles. Immunofluorescence assay demonstrated that colocalization of the spike protein-incorporated VLPs with hDPP4. In addition, BALB/c mice were vaccinated with MERS-CoV VLPs that could induce neutralizing antibodies. The protection assay is ongoing.
Dr. Mohammad Ismail Zubair M.D, MSc, NEPI/MoPH, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) annually targets around 1.4 million children aged below 1 year to protect against 10 vaccine-preventable diseases and 4.1 million pregnant women to protect them and their newborns from tetanus through routine immunization services. Despite significant efforts by the Government and partners, Afghanistan’s immunization indicators have not met the expected benchmarks.
Objectives: To assess the factors affecting Immunization coverage in Afghanistan and explore the NEPI present situation and the way forward.
Methods: A mixed-method operational research design was used. Desk review, quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches used. The study participants were EPI frontline workers, mid-level and senior management staff. Quantitative data collection methods included vaccine centers observation and immunization services provider’s interviews. Vaccine centers observation was executed by using a comprehensive checklist. Structured interviews were conducted through a universal sampling technique. Qualitative arm included semi-structured interviews with children caregivers, child barring age women and community people. These in-depth interviews were performed till the point saturation was achieved in study findings. For quantitative part, bio-statistical method that is reporting of descriptive frequencies is performed and data was analyzed using SPSS 19.0 software. Analysis of qualitative data was done manually and codes and themes were generated from findings.
Finding: At community level the main constraints of demand side are low community awareness, myths about vaccines, and low community ownership; supply side barriers are ambiguous micro-planning, white areas, unequal geographical distribution of fixed centers, lack of female vaccinators, weak outreach and mobile services. Whereas, low management and technical capacity, minimum salary, weak coordination and communication, low performance accountability are mid-level constraints. Meanwhile, lack of clarity in strategic directions; using old management; no growth opportunity for staff; weak data management and use; lack program evaluation are the senior management/ policy level barriers. Aforementioned factors have direct effect on national coverage of immunization in Afghanistan.
Conclusion: It is important that the various factors affecting coverage of immunization services become explicit to healthcare providers, health system managers, and policy makers in order to continuously monitor and improve vaccine service provision in the country and to meet the expected benchmarks.
Khartoum University, Sudan
Huda S A Elhassan is a 6th year medical student at Khartoum University
Immunization remains one of the most important public health interventions and cost effective strategies to reduce child mortality and morbidity associated with infectious diseases. A descriptive cross-sectional community based survey was conducted in Kassala locality from November 2017 to January 2018. A modified World Health Organization-Expanded Program on Immunization cluster sampling methods were used for household selection. A total 347 children aged 12 to 35 months were included in the study. Data were collected by using a pre-tested, interviewer administered questionnaire. Bivariate analysis was employed to identify factors associated with full immunization coverage and multiple binary logistic regression analysis was performed for those factors that showed statistically significant association in bivariate analysis and investigate independent predictors by controlling for possible confounders and significances of all tests were decided at p-value of 0.05. Number of fully immunized children was 277(79.8%) according to mother recall, 205(59.1%) were fully vaccinated according to vaccination cards . factors significantly associated with vaccination status of children were: age of the child in months (OR 1.09, 95%CI: 1.04_1.13) available vaccination center (OR .323, 95%CI: .155_.67), walking time to the nearest vaccination center less than 30 minutes (OR5.50, 95%CI: 2.87_10.5) and source of information about vaccination date by family members/friends/ neighbors (OR 3.81, 95%CI: 1.44_10.09). Despite improvement immunization coverage is still low. Age of child, availability of vaccination center and accessibility were the major predictors of children vaccination status.
New Horizon Foundation (NGO),BOX 568 Konongo,Ghana,West Africa
Samuel has completed MPhil. in Biomedical Engineering at the age of 39years from valley view university, Ghana. He is the director of New Horizon Foundation, Ghana and a full-time Chemistry Teacher at Konongo -Odumase Senior High School. He is a member of Young mens Christian Association(YMCA), Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI) and coordinator of School Guidance and Counselling board
The study aimed at exploring the psychosocial perspectives of stigmatization and discrimination of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the Asante Akim Municipality with Konongo Municipal Hospital in focus. The research design employed was the descriptive survey using the explanatory mixed method approach which utilized questionnaire and interview as the research instruments for data collection. Four (4) research questions and three (3) hypotheses were developed. Fifty-three (53) participants comprising fifty-one (51) PLWHA and two (2) HIV counsellors were sampled using the convenience, purposive, and snowball sampling techniques. Data were analyzed using inferential statistics (t-test & regression) to test the hypotheses while the qualitative data were analysed thematically with verbatim quotations from participants to support issues as they emerged. The study revealed that PLWHA are not stigmatized and discriminated against even though such stigmatization and discrimination exist in the areas of employment and workplace, community contexts, family contexts, individual liberties, and access to healthcare. Accepting one’s current HIV status was realized to be one of the strategies that help PLWHA to cope. As a care and support system, the study revealed that drugs and other logistics are given to PLWHA at a discount, and the counsellors attended to PLWHA to empathize with them. It is therefore recommended, the local authorities together with the District Ghana AIDS Commission should strengthen the awareness creation on the need for harmonious living with PLWHA in the community and the District Ministry of Health should employ more health personnel to engage in follow ups.