In Brief

New partnership boosts work on malaria vaccine for children

The pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has teamed up with the US-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) to develop a malaria vaccine for use in children. PATH will inject US$ 6.7 million into the partnership’s work on the vaccine, which GSK initiated in 1983. The vaccine consists of a malaria parasite protein fused to a fragment of the hepatitis B virus. In a field trial in 1998–99 in West Africa, it conferred short-term protection on adults: about two-thirds of the vaccinated volunteers were protected for up to 8 weeks after vaccination.


Further information from Anne P. Walsh, GSK,
Rixensart, Belgium: tel +32 (2) 656 9831; PATH
Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Rockville, MD, USA:
tel: +1 (301) 770 5377, fax: (301) 770-5322,
email: <>,
web site:


Update on depleted uranium tests

A group of experts reported in March to the European Commission that exposure to depleted uranium could not result in detectable damage to human health. Another report, however, issued in the same month by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said that although tests had shown ‘‘no significant risks... of contamination to air or plants’’, depleted uranium ammunition buried in the soil could produce a 10- to 100-fold increase in uranium levels in drinking water that might exceed WHO health standards.


Further information from Melinda Henry, WHO:
tel: +41 (22) 791 2535; fax: +41 (22) 791 4858;
email: <>;
web site: <>


Multiple sclerosis and hepatitis B vaccine — no evidence of link

Two large US studies that since 1976 and 1989, respectively, have monitored health-related events in a total of about 140 000 nurses, have found no association between hepatitis B vaccination and the development of multiple sclerosis. Rumours of such a link were mooted several years ago in France and more recently in the US.


Further information from <>

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland