4 – 10 July 2019

Beate Kampmann provides expert comment on news that the NHS will expand the HPV vaccination programme to include all boys in school year 8 from September. Beate said: “This decision is a triumph for gender equality in cancer prevention. It’s pleasing to see the UK follow the example of other countries like Australia, where the vaccine has been implemented for girls since 2007 and for boys in 2013. This has resulted in the HPV rate among women aged 18 to 24 dropping from 22% to 1% percent between 2005 and 2015. This success speaks for itself. We now have the tools to eradicate most HPV-associated cancers for men and women.”

Beate’s comments were covered by 70 outlets, including newswire Press Association, The Guardian,  The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun and Scotsman. The news was featured on the front page of the Telegraph.

Peter Piot speaks to Devex (£) about the future and challenges in global health. Peter said: “The easy solutions are over in global health. It used to be – you have an infection, you make a vaccine, and you wipe it out. That’s what happened with measles. But it’s coming back.”

Gwen Knight talks to The Telegraph about the findings of LSHTM-led research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases showing that more than 19 million people around the globe are infected with one of the most complex forms of dormant tuberculosis. Gwen said: “Latent TB is a significant reservoir of disease. Our research suggests that in the future the level of latent MDR-TB will rise, which could overwhelm our targets to control TB and is only going to make this disease a bigger threat on the world stage.”

Laura Cornelson is quoted by Wired about the effectiveness of sugar tax, after Boris Johnson pledged to review the impact of the tax if he becomes Prime Minister. Laura said: “The reasons behind obesity and diet-related diseases are more complex than just over consuming on one or two specific items, so the solutions need to be different.”

Julian Peto speaks to Sky News about why a campaign being led by trade unions to remove asbestos from schools could be dangerous. Julian said: “Much of the most dangerous asbestos has already been removed and trying to take out the remainder is not advisable because it would release more fibres.”

Shelley Lees co-authors a piece in The Conversation, exploring why context mattes in fighting Ebola and looking at how lessons learned from the 2014 outbreak can be used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The authors write: “Distrust was also rooted in pre-epidemic experiences with health care services. This too is playing out again in the DRC. Continuing to strengthen non-epidemic related health services during an outbreak should therefore not be sidelined. It must remain a priority.”

The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team is mentioned in news as the International Development Secretary, Rory Stewart MP, calls for urgent funding to help deal with the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC, during a visit to the country.

Alice Gibson authors a piece for Times Higher Education (£) about recent confusion over The Lancet’s stance on open access and how this highlights issues for support staff in preparing researchers for the new rules. Alice writes: “If such issues aren’t resolved promptly, they have the capacity not only to see funding misdirected. They could also undermine the good relationships that university research support staff such as myself have worked hard to establish with our academics.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page. As part of our social media campaign to support London Climate Action Week, we ran a day of food swap ideas that help reduce water use and carbon emissions, while also being healthier. A win-win for personal and planetary health!

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