18 – 24 October 2018

Heidi Larson authors a new report published by the EU Commission on vaccine confidence in Europe, finding that while it is improving in some countries it is decreasing in others and that coordinated approaches are needed to remind people of the importance of vaccines. Heidi said: “Vaccine confidence is dynamic and volatile and must be watched closely, especially given the public health risks of vaccine hesitancy and refusal. This report demonstrates that monitoring vaccine confidence over time is very important, as it acts as a barometer to detect emerging issues for countries to act on.” The report is covered outlets including The Telegraph, The Times (£), Reuters newswire and the Daily Mail.

Peter Piot speaks to BBC World Service’s After the Crash on the risks that pandemics pose to the economy. “A pandemic could trigger a global recession, it all depends how big it is of course and where it will hit. We know that the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago reduced global GDP by about 5% – three trillion in these days. We also know that in Hong Kong a very short lived epidemic of SARS really hit the GDP by about 3%.” (from 8m 10s)

Peter is also quoted in the Financial Times (£) on how draft guidance limiting contributions to the Research Excellence Framework to only those employed within the UK will impact research. “It would ignore a lot of British research, undermine government efforts to fund the best research and have a major impact on the school.”

Will Nutland speaks to CNN about a new Lancet study that finds a high-coverage roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among men who have sex with men in Australia was associated with a 25% reduction in HIV diagnoses. Will said: These findings are exciting but not surprising. If you introduce PrEP rapidly and target it to high-risk people, you get a rapid reduction in HIV.”

Voice of America interview Heidi Larson on her recent study showing the highly politicised response to newly-reported risks of a dengue vaccine in the Philippines’ reduced public trust in vaccines overall. “It became an uproar and created not only quite a crisis around this vaccine but it bled into other areas of public confidence in vaccines more broadly.”

A new LSHTM-led study looks at the long-term outcomes for women who have undergone vaginal mesh insertion to treat stress urinary incontinence. Researchers found that 3% of women subsequently needed a removal procedure due to complications. The study is covered in The Independent.

Anthony Matthews speaks to Medscape (free but registration required) about a new study looking at whether hormone therapy increases risk of cardiovascular disease in women with a history of non-metastatic breast cancer. Anthony said: “Hormone therapy should continue to be primarily based on the effectiveness against recurrence of breast cancer, but the totality of evidence we have accumulated shows the need for clinical vigilance when prescribing these medications to patients at risk of cardiovascular disease.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page, and shares an interview with LSHTM’s Dr Claire Bayntun, ahead of the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference in November. Claire talks about overcoming career challenges and what has inspired and motivated her throughout.

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