China’s pharmaceutical sales amounted to 600 billion yuan ($97.7 billion) last year, with average annual growth exceeding 20 percent over the last five years, compared with 0.3 percent in developed markets, according to information provided to China Daily by IMS Health Inc. However, a series of investigations into alleged corrupt practices by multinational drug makers and the high cost of medicine in China have aroused concern among international companies on how to do business in the nation amid an overhaul of the market.
Eleven new H7N9 human infections were reported today in China bringing the total number of such cases around the country to 60.
As of Sunday, Shanghai Municipality reported 24 infection cases after three men were confirmed to be infected with the new strain on Saturday afternoon. The three men include a 73-year-old man surnamed Zhu, a 54-year-old man, surnamed Song and a 78-year-old man, surnamed Chen. The men developed symptoms of fever earlier this month and were sent to hospital for treatment.
Shanghai Municipal Health & Family Planning Commission on Saturday afternoon confirmed that the three were tested positive for H7N9 bird flu virus. Twenty-five people, who had close contact with the three men have been in medical observation, and none of them has yet shown flu symptoms.
Meanwhile, the city also reported two deaths on Sunday, bringing the death toll from H7N9 in the country to 13, as of Sunday.
A 67-year-old woman, surnamed Cao and a 77-year-old man surnamed Wang died in hospital on Saturday night and Sunday morning, respectively, said the commission. According to the Bureau of Health of East China’s Jiangsu province, a 50-year-old man surnamed Liu and a 26-year-old man surnamed Shan have been confirmed to be infected with H7N9 virus, while 29 people who have closely contacted with the two have shown nothing abnormal so far.
In neighbouring Zhejiang province, according to a statement from the provincial health department, four people have tested positive for H7N9 and all are still in critical conditions.
The H7N9 bird flu has spread to Central China’s Henan province and the capital of Beijing in the north after two new infection cases were reported in Henan on Sunday morning and one child tested positive for the strain on Saturday.
As of now, 60 H7N9 human infection cases have been reported nationwide with 24 in Shanghai, 16 in Jiangsu, 15 in Zhejiang, two in Anhui, two in Henan and one in Beijing. Of the 60 infected people, 13 have died.
The report, which is recognised by the mainland Chinese government, suggests that there is one death from cancer every five minutes involving Chinese people in mainland China. Annually, this translates into 2.7 million cancer deaths per year. The figures on cancer deaths are based on data collected from 72 cancer surveillance sites in 24 provinces in China, which has a number of cancer surveillance centres and includes data collected from 85 million people in mainland China.
Chen Wanqing, deputy director of the National Central Cancer Registry, which is under the Ministry of Health, is reported to have said in an interview with the China Daily newspaper, “Worldwide, China continues to have a relatively low cancer incidence, but the death rate was relatively high.” The 2012 Cancer Registry Annual Report also indicates that cancer rates stand at 285.91 per 100,000 people in mainland China, resulting in 3.12 million new cases a year.
According to Chen, this rate is lower than most developed economies, such as Western countries such as the United States, European countries and Australia, but far higher than in underdeveloped economies. “The cancer incidence rate goes up as people age peaking when they reach 80”, he said. Given mainland China’s rapidly aging population, “China’s cancer burden will increase”, he said.
The report also indicates that the main incidence of cancers amonng Chinese people in the mainland are lung, stomach, colorectal and liver cancers and lung, liver and stomach cancers are the top killers followed by breast, lung, thyroid and colorectal cancers, which are also rapidly rising.
Every second somebody in the world gets newly infected with TB bacilli, every 18 seconds somebody dies of the infectious disease. TB causes almost 2 million deaths a year, equaling one jumbo jet crashing every two hours.TB is contagious and spreads through the air. Around two billion people, or one third of the world’s population, are estimated to be infected with the bacterium that causes the disease. The overall lifetime risk of developing TB disease following infection is estimated to be approximately 10%.
Every year around 9 million new cases of TB disease are recorded, overall almost 14 million people have the disease. The increased mobility of the world’s population intensifies the spread of the airborne infectious disease. If not treated, each person with active TB infects on average 10 to 15 people per year. Although poverty-related and mostly affecting developing countries, TB is prevalent in all continents. The situation is turning serious in Europe, is alarming in Africa and extremely worrisome in Russia, China and India. Drug resistant TB: a global threat.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has fuelled a dramatic resurgence of TB. People living with HIV are 20 to 40 times more likely to suffer from TB once they are infected with the bacteria than people without HIV. TB is a leading cause of death among people living with HIV. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) are a growing threat for all countries in the world. These forms of TB are expensive and extremely difficult or virtually impossible to treat. Per year an estimated 500,000 new cases of MDR-TB and 50,000 new cases of XDR-TB are recorded in a growing number of both developing and developed countries.
Human and economic disaster
Next to being a huge cost to humanity, TB also undermines the capacity of nations to escape poverty and is an enormous drain on the global economy. The burden of TB is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars every year. The economic loss amounts to 0.52% of the world’s gross national income.
No elimination without new vaccines
The development of faster diagnostics, better drugs and more effective, safe vaccines is urgently needed. Eliminating TB by 2050 can only be achieved when such new tools are available. Finding new vaccines is particularly important as various studies show their impact will be significant, being able to save tens of millions of lives. Vaccines will also be especially crucial in combating MDR- and XDR-TB. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), currently the only available TB vaccine, is widely used and effective in preventing severe forms of TB in children. However, BCG has little to no efficacy in preventing pulmonary TB, the most common and most infectious form of TB among adults and adolescents worldwide. Furthermore, BCG may be unsafe in newborns with HIV.
Several types of vaccines needed
The world needs new vaccines to replace or improve BCG. These vaccines should also prevent TB in people with a latent or ‘sleeping’ TB infection (which is not contagious but can still develop into TB later in life) and be safe in people living with HIV. TBVI aims to develop two types of vaccines 1) priming vaccines that could be given to newborns, which are also protective in latently infected persons and safe in persons with HIV. 2) boosting vaccines to be used in infants, adolescents or young adults, protecting both non-infected as well as latently infected persons from developing TB.
Scientists have developed a new HIV test that is not only ten times more sensitive than the current test, but costs only a fraction of the price of the current test. According to a study recently published (October 29) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology the new test uses nanotechnology to give results that can be seen with the naked eye by turning a sample red or blue.
According to the researchers, led by Professor Molly Stevens, the method uses nano-sensors to detect HIV protein antigen p24 is highly accurate. “Our new detection system, is highly innovative and will be an affordable methodology that will greatly improve the standard of living of patients with HIV infection in low income countries. The test can also be reconfigured to detect other diseases, such as sepsis, Leishmaniasis, Tuberculosis and malaria she told Reuters.
Researchers from Oxford University reviewed 29 published and unpublished trials involving over 100,000 people taking statins. They found venous thrombosis occurred in 0.9 per cent of people taking statins compared to one per cent of people who were not taking the drugs. There was no difference between those who took higher or lower doses of statins.
The study, published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine reported, “We were unable to confirm the large proportional reduction in (clot) risk.” However, it also added stated “a more modest but perhaps clinically worthwhile” effect could not be ruled out.
In 2009, a trial called JUPITER found that the drug marketed as Crestor halved the risk of blood clots among apparently healthy adults, a finding that boosted suggestions the drug should be taken preventively. However, the figures to support this finding were relatively small. The 2009 study randomly assigned 17,800 people to take Crestor or placebo.
After a follow-up period of two years, 34 of the subjects in the statin group and 60 in the placebo group developed a venous thrombo-embolism, a clot which can form in the legs and travel to the lungs. The latest study, led by Kasem Rahimi, found no such effect.
Commenting on the findings, British Heart Foundation medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: ‘It has long been thought that statins may have additional health benefits on top of their proven ability to reduce heart attacks and strokes.
‘An earlier study suggested that one statin, rosuvastatin, might reduce the risk of blood clots in deep veins and lungs, known as venous thromboembolism.
‘However, findings in single studies can sometimes happen by chance. By pooling a large amount of data on several different types of statin, this analysis shows that any significant protection against blood clots is highly unlikely.’
Statins are taken to combat high cholesterol. They work by blocking the action of key enzymes in the liver, which synthesizes the fat-like substance.