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Japanese researchers: New vaccine reduces malaria infection by 72 percent

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A team of Japanese researchers say they have developed a vaccine that cuts the risk of malaria developing in humans by more than two-thirds.

The disease, which is carried by parasite-bearing mosquitoes, kills around 650,000 people each year, mostly African children under five, according to the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO).

While there are a number of preventative medicines already in use, scientists say drug-resistance is growing.

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Researchers from Osaka University have developed a dry powder vaccine, called BK-SE36, from a genetically-modified protein found inside the parasite, which they mixed with aluminum hydroxyl gel.

“The vaccine’s effect is greater than those hitherto reported of any other antimalaria vaccines,” a statement issued this week said, adding BK-SE36 is expected to reduce markedly the number of deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease.

The vaccine has already undergone trials on adults in Japan and was also tested in a malaria-endemic area in northern Uganda between 2010 and 2011. Neither study found any safety problems.

A follow-up study of people in Uganda, aged between six and 20, found the vaccine lowered the number of people infected by malaria by 72 percent.

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The findings were published on Tuesday on the online US science journal PLOS One, according the statement.

BK-SE36 far outperformed the 31 percent decline achieved by another new vaccine developed by a British company, the statement said.

Professor Toshihiro Horii, who led the study, told Jiji Press he wants to put BK-SE36 to practical use “in five years after conducting a clinical trial on infants between zero and five, who account for the bulk of malaria deaths.”

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The study came as a non-profit group said Friday it was launching a project to comb the catalogues of some of Japan’s biggest drug companies in the hunt for treatments for diseases that kill thousands of people every year.

The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), set up by the Japanese government, Japanese pharma companies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said they were looking at a potential five-year commitment of more than $100 million to support research and development into neglected diseases.

The project will see researchers looking through the libraries of compounds held by drug companies to see what possible treatments they contain for tuberculosis, malaria, and other illnesses that threaten hundreds of millions of people in the developing world.

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The announcement was made on the sidelines of the five-yearly Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) which will see Japan welcome heads of government from up to 40 African countries.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview

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The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.

Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.

"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.

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2020 Election

‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News

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Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.

Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.

"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.

"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment

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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."

The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.

"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.

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