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Thread: Another first for NZ

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    Default Another first for NZ


    World's first cervical vaccine now available in NZ
    11 September 2006 ?
    ?
    New Zealand women now have access to Gardasil, the world's first cervical cancer vaccine. Research shows the vaccine protects women from the cancer-causing effects of some types of the human papilloma virus (HPV). ?

    There is now some debate about how best to deliver the vaccine. The target age for administering Gardasil is about 11 because the vaccine works best when given to girls before they begin having sex and run the risk of HPV infection. It has been licensed for use in females aged between nine and 26. ?

    The course of three injections costs $450 and has not yet been approved for inclusion in the government-funded schedule of childhood vaccinations. ?

    A Health Ministry committee is assessing whether to add Gardasil to the schedule, along with other vaccinations designed to protect against chicken pox, rotavirus, pneumococcal disease and types of meningococcal disease other than the B strain. ?

    Immunisation Advisory Centre director Nikki Turner said she was keen to see all these vaccines, which had been proven safe and effective, added to the childhood schedule. "New Zealand has to think very hard and fast about preventive health and where these vaccines fit," she told the New Zealand Herald. ?

    When Medsafe approved the vaccine in July, principal technical specialist Dr Stewart Jessamine said study results were promising if the effect was continued in the long-term. "We would expect to see a reduction in the rate of cervical cancer but women who receive the vaccine will still need to get cervical smears," he warned. ?

    While the HPV virus was associated with the development of abnormalities in cells in the cervix, it was not the sole cause of all cervical cancers, he said. "We would expect it to have a significant effect but we would still expect women to undergo screening." ?

    In worldwide clinical trials involving over 20,000 women, Gardasil was proven to be 100 percent effective against HPV types 16 and 18, said David Bowler, general manager of pharmaceutical company CSL NZ which will market the vaccine here. ?

    Together HPV 16 and 18 caused about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, he said. ?
    Around 180 New Zealand women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and a third of them die. Auckland gynaecology oncologist Ai Ling Tan said that a preventative vaccine combined with regular pap smear tests was a major leap forward in eradicating cervical cancer. ?

    Sexual health specialist Min Lo said the ability to prevent pre-cancerous lesions was a significant advancement for women's health. ?

    Gardasil had the added benefit of preventing genital warts, which caused significant distress for patients, she said. ?

    Until a decision is made on government funding of Gardasil, patients must pay for the vaccine through their doctors. The Family Planning Association said it would like to be able to offer the vaccine and was working on the logistics of providing the service. ?

    Meanwhile, the Federation of Women's Health Councils has sounded a note of caution, questioning whether enough was known about the effects of Gardasil. ?

    - NZPA

    ? ?
    Mother Bear

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    Default Re: Another first for NZ


    Device cuts time in germ scares
    Monday September 18, 2006
    By Jarrod Booker

    A revolutionary new device developed at Canterbury University is set to make the world safer from bioterrorism.

    The hand-held device, developed by the university's commercial arm Canterprise, with backing from venture capital firms, can detect anthrax and other dangerous bacterial spores in substances within minutes, compared with the three days it usually takes to fully analyse a sample in a laboratory.

    Prototypes of the device, which looks like a torch, have proven to be 99 per cent accurate. Worldwide interest in the product is already high and orders have been taken for delivery in 2007.

    "Let's say in the case of a white powder incident, where there is concern that a powder that has fallen out of an envelope could be anthrax, then this technology could be placed over the powder and would determine within minutes whether it is anthrax or something harmless," said Neville Jordan, chairman of Veritide, which will market the device.

    Anthrax is considered a serious terrorist threat after a spate of attempts to unleash the deadly disease in the United States after September 11, 2001. White powder scares have also occurred in New Zealand.

    The inventor of the device, Professor Lou Reinisch, said the portable bacterial spore detector was the first of its type.

    "It's a device that is clever enough and accurate enough that it really takes a big crunch out of the bioterrorists and people who put powder into envelopes and send them through the postal system," Professor Reinisch said.

    "There are some reasonable technologies available to identify chemicals in chemical spills. There is no accepted technology that is available that can identify biological samples quickly. It's not confused by surrounding materials."

    Veritide project manager Andrew Rudge said another big advantage of the device was savings in time and money. Large-scale evacuations in the likes of commercial buildings, airports and postal centres around the world could be avoided by determining if a substance is a hoax.

    "Even a one-hour delay at an airport, with the whole airport shutting down, can be a catastrophe not just at that airport, but across a whole country."

    The device was being marketed at "first-response teams" around the world. "Federal agencies, fire departments, police departments, airports, ports, even commercial buildings, subways - any services where the public are and where a potential threat could be," Mr Rudge said.

    "We've spoken to several groups of first responders about this and their response has been very positive. Their questions have been like 'How quickly can you get us one of these?' "

    It is expected that tens of thousands of devices may be produced. Work on final production is under way.

    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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