Friday, March 31, 2017

NEWS POST: Solar Energy And Salt Water Power Vegetable Farms In The Desert

In 2011 The Sahara Forest Project AS entered into cooperation with Yara ASA, the world’s largest supplier of fertilizer and the Qatari company Qafco, the world’s largest single site producer of urea and ammonia. After successfully completing a comprehensive feasibility study on Qatar, the parties signed an agreement to build the first fully operational Sahara Forest Project Pilot Plant in Qatar. 
With scorching summer temperatures and little rainfall, the barren scrublands around the port of Aqaba in Jordan, one of the world's most arid countries, might seem ill suited to cultivating cucumbers.

Yet a Norwegian company is setting up a solar-powered, 20 hectare (50 acre) facility that promises to grow a variety of vegetables without wasting a drop of fresh water.

"We take what we have enough of - sunlight, carbon dioxide, seawater and desert - to produce what we need more of - food water and energy," said Joakim Hauge, chief executive of the Sahara Forest Project (SFP).

Harnessing abundant resources to generate scarce ones will be key to feeding a growing global population, set to reach 9 billion by 2050, without damaging the environment or accelerating climate change, he said.

Food production must rise by about 60 percent by 2050 to generate enough for everyone to eat, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Agriculture already accounts for 70 percent of global fresh water use, while the food sector is responsible for more than 20 percent of planet-warming emissions and 30 percent of world energy consumption.

"We can no longer make solutions that come at the expense of other sectors," said Hauge. "There is a need for a more integrated approach".

The Aqaba complex, set to open in the summer, evaporates salt water piped from the nearby Red Sea to cool greenhouses, creating conditions for crops to grow all year round.
Sea water is also desalinated to generate salt and fresh water for irrigation, while vapour from greenhouses is used to humidify surrounding patches of parched land so plants can grow.

Agriculture of Tomorrow?
SFP said a pilot project in the Gulf state of Qatar generated cucumber yields comparable to those of European farms. Plans are underway to expand operations to Tunisia.

But FAO experts said high costs involved limited the potential of such projects to ramp up food production on a global scale.

The Sahara Forest Project is a new environmental solution to produce food, water and energy in desert areas. “It is designed to utilize what we have enough of to produce what we need more of, using deserts, saltwater and CO2 to produce food, water and clean energy,” says Joakim Hauge.
"You need a lot of energy and a lot of money so...the question may arise whether the same resources could be put to better use," said FAO natural resources officer Alessandro Flammini.

To be financially viable, production must focus on high-value crops, like cucumbers and tomatoes, which poor countries might find cheaper to import, said Flammini, who analyzed the Qatar pilot for a 2014 FAO report.

"It's an interesting concept for fulfilling local needs and especially in terms of food independence and to meet the demand of a niche market," he said.

The Aqaba complex had a US$3.7 million budget and received financial support from Norway, the European Union and other investors, according to SFP.

Hauge said besides producing food, the complex, which will include a laboratory and research facilities, would produce side benefits by greening arid areas and creating jobs.

"We believe that this is part of the agriculture of tomorrow," the biologist-turned-entrepreneur told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

From Australia to Somalia
Several other companies are employing similar technologies in other arid corners of the world.

In 2016, UK-based agribusiness Sundrop Farms Holding Ltd opened a vast greenhouse for tomato farming in the Australian outback near Port Augusta, 300 km (190 miles) north of Adelaide.

The facility runs on energy mostly produced by a 115 metre solar tower that draws sunlight from 23,000 mirrors surrounding it.

"Traditional agriculture is wasteful in terms of water and fossil fuels. In addition, unprotected crops are at the mercy of the elements, causing gaps in supply, quality issues and price spikes," Sundrop's CEO Philipp Saumweber said in an email.

The company has signed a 10-year contract to supply Australian supermarket chain Coles with truss tomatoes and received investments of about US$100 million from private equity firm KKR & Co, according to a 2014 statement.

"While the capital expenditure required to build our farms is slightly more expensive due to its cutting-edge nature, we reap the benefits of this initial investment in the long run through savings of fossil inputs," said Saumweber.

Around seven thousand miles away, in sun-baked and drought-hit Somaliland, another British-based venture, Seawater Greenhouse, is setting up a pilot facility aimed at making high-tech greenhouse production more affordable.

"We have eliminated using fans," said British inventor Charlie Paton, a former business partner of Saumweber, who pioneered the use of solar energy and salt water for irrigation in the 1990s.

"We designed (the greenhouse) to be cool by exploiting the prevailing wind. So it's a wind-cooled greenhouse," he said in a phone interview.

The one-hectare complex, which received funding from the British government, cost about US$100,000, he said, adding he expected it to produce around 30 tonnes of tomatoes a year and 16 litres of drinking water a day for irrigation and livestock.

Cucumber harvested at The Sahara Forest Project Pilot Facility in Qatar
Paton said he hoped the greenhouse, which employs mostly local staff, would serve as a hub for expansion across the Horn of Africa.

"The region gets a lot of humanitarian aid and that's arguably detrimental because if you give free food to people you put farmers out of business," he said.
"It has more chances of success if people can make money out of it."

Originally published on THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Apprenticeship — Raising The New Masters And Maestros 2

Larry Page and Sergey Brin
by Muhammad Harir Traditional Art / Drawings / People©2011-2017  
EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the second installment of this post. I am skipping one post ahead to the Birth of Google so we can fully appreciate what Larry Page and Sergey Brin accomplished with ONE IDEA before we delve into the role their background and pedigree played in all of the ongoing story. (Read the first installment here).

The Birth of Google — John Battelle
It began with an argument. When he first met Larry Page in the summer of 1995, Sergey Brin was a second-year grad student in the computer science department at Stanford University. Gregarious by nature, Brin had volunteered as a guide of sorts for potential first-years – students who had been admitted, but were still deciding whether to attend. His duties included showing recruits the campus and leading a tour of nearby San Francisco. Page, an engineering major from the University of Michigan, ended up in Brin's group.

It was hardly love at first sight. Walking up and down the city's hills that day, the two clashed incessantly, debating, among other things, the value of various approaches to urban planning. "Sergey is pretty social; he likes meeting people," Page recalls, contrasting that quality with his own reticence. "I thought he was pretty obnoxious. He had really strong opinions about things, and I guess I did, too."

"We both found each other obnoxious," Brin counters when I tell him of Page's response. "But we say it a little bit jokingly. Obviously we spent a lot of time talking to each other, so there was something there. We had a kind of bantering thing going." Page and Brin may have clashed, but they were clearly drawn together – two swords sharpening one another.
When Page showed up at Stanford a few months later, he selected human-computer interaction pioneer Terry Winograd as his adviser. Soon thereafter he began searching for a topic for his doctoral thesis. It was an important decision. As Page had learned from his father, a computer science professor at Michigan State, a dissertation can frame one's entire academic career. He kicked around 10 or so intriguing ideas, but found himself attracted to the burgeoning World Wide Web.

Page didn't start out looking for a better way to search the Web. Despite the fact that Stanford alumni were getting rich founding Internet companies, Page found the Web interesting primarily for its mathematical characteristics. Each computer was a node, and each link on a Web page was a connection between nodes – a classic graph structure. "Computer scientists love graphs," Page tells me. The World Wide Web, Page theorized, may have been the largest graph ever created, and it was growing at a breakneck pace. Many useful insights lurked in its vertices, awaiting discovery by inquiring graduate students. Winograd agreed, and Page set about pondering the link structure of the Web.

Citations and Back Rubs 
It proved a productive course of study. Page noticed that while it was trivial to follow links from one page to another, it was nontrivial to discover links back. In other words, when you looked at a Web page, you had no idea what pages were linking back to it. This bothered Page. He thought it would be very useful to know who was linking to whom.

Why? To fully understand the answer to that question, a minor detour into the world of academic publishing is in order. For professors – particularly those in the hard sciences like mathematics and chemistry – nothing is as important as getting published. Except, perhaps, being cited.

Googleplex, the headquarters of Google Inc. in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, California. United States.
Academics build their papers on a carefully constructed foundation of citation: Each paper reaches a conclusion by citing previously published papers as proof points that advance the author's argument. Papers are judged not only on their original thinking, but also on the number of papers they cite, the number of papers that subsequently cite them back, and the perceived importance of each citation. Citations are so important that there's even a branch of science devoted to their study: bibliometrics.

Fair enough. So what's the point? Well, it was Tim Berners-Lee's desire to improve this system that led him to create the World Wide Web. And it was Larry Page and Sergey Brin's attempts to reverse engineer Berners-Lee's World Wide Web that led to Google. The needle that threads these efforts together is citation – the practice of pointing to other people's work in order to build up your own.

Which brings us back to the original research Page did on such backlinks, a project he came to call BackRub.

He reasoned that the entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation – after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could divine a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it "the Web would become a more valuable place."

At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler.

The idea's complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. "I talked to lots of research groups" around the school, Brin recalls, "and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry."

The Audacity of Rank 
In March 1996, Page pointed his crawler at just one page – his homepage at Stanford – and let it loose. The crawler worked outward from there.

Crawling the entire Web to discover the sum of its links is a major undertaking, but simple crawling was not where BackRub's true innovation lay. Page was naturally aware of the concept of ranking in academic publishing, and he theorized that the structure of the Web's graph would reveal not just who was linking to whom, but more critically, the importance of who linked to whom, based on various attributes of the site that was doing the linking. Inspired by citation analysis, Page realized that a raw count of links to a page would be a useful guide to that page's rank. He also saw that each link needed its own ranking, based on the link count of its originating page. But such an approach creates a difficult and recursive mathematical challenge – you not only have to count a particular page's links, you also have to count the links attached to the links. The math gets complicated rather quickly.

Fortunately, Page was now working with Brin, whose prodigious gifts in mathematics could be applied to the problem. Brin, the Russian-born son of a NASA scientist and a University of Maryland math professor, emigrated to the US with his family at the age of 6. By the time he was a middle schooler, Brin was a recognized math prodigy. He left high school a year early to go to UM. When he graduated, he immediately enrolled at Stanford, where his talents allowed him to goof off. The weather was so good, he told me, that he loaded up on nonacademic classes – sailing, swimming, scuba diving. He focused his intellectual energies on interesting projects rather than actual course work.

Together, Page and Brin created a ranking system that rewarded links that came from sources that were important and penalized those that did not. For example, many sites link to Those links might range from a business partner in the technology industry to a teenage programmer in suburban Illinois who just got a ThinkPad for Christmas. To a human observer, the business partner is a more important link in terms of IBM's place in the world. But how might an algorithm understand that fact?

Page and Brin's breakthrough was to create an algorithm – dubbed PageRank after Page – that manages to take into account both the number of links into a particular site and the number of links into each of the linking sites. This mirrored the rough approach of academic citation-counting. It worked. In the example above, let's assume that only a few sites linked to the teenager's site. Let's further assume the sites that link to the teenager's are similarly bereft of links. By contrast, thousands of sites link to Intel, and those sites, on average, also have thousands of sites linking to them. PageRank would rank the teen's site as less important than Intel's – at least in relation to IBM.

Another view of Googleplex, the headquarters of Google Inc. in Mountain View, Silicon Valley, California. United States.
This is a simplified view, to be sure, and Page and Brin had to correct for any number of mathematical culs-de-sac, but the long and the short of it was this: More popular sites rose to the top of their annotation list, and less popular sites fell toward the bottom.

As they fiddled with the results, Brin and Page realized their data might have implications for Internet search. In fact, the idea of applying BackRub's ranked page results to search was so natural that it didn't even occur to them that they had made the leap. As it was, BackRub already worked like a search engine – you gave it a URL, and it gave you a list of backlinks ranked by importance. "We realized that we had a querying tool," Page recalls. "It gave you a good overall ranking of pages and ordering of follow-up pages."

Page and Brin noticed that BackRub's results were superior to those from existing search engines like AltaVista and Excite, which often returned irrelevant listings. "They were looking only at text and not considering this other signal," Page recalls. That signal is now better known as PageRank. To test whether it worked well in a search application, Brin and Page hacked together a BackRub search tool. It searched only the words in page titles and applied PageRank to sort the results by relevance, but its results were so far superior to the usual search engines – which ranked mostly on keywords – that Page and Brin knew they were onto something big.

Not only was the engine good, but Page and Brin realized it would scale as the Web scaled. Because PageRank worked by analyzing links, the bigger the Web, the better the engine. That fact inspired the founders to name their new engine Google, after googol, the term for the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeroes. They released the first version of Google on the Stanford Web site in August 1996 – one year after they met.

Among a small set of Stanford insiders, Google was a hit. Energized, Brin and Page began improving the service, adding full-text search and more and more pages to the index. They quickly discovered that search engines require an extraordinary amount of computing resources. They didn't have the money to buy new computers, so they begged and borrowed Google into existence – a hard drive from the network lab, an idle CPU from the computer science loading docks. Using Page's dorm room as a machine lab, they fashioned a computational Frankenstein from spare parts, then jacked the whole thing into Stanford's broadband campus network. After filling Page's room with equipment, they converted Brin's dorm room into an office and programming centre.

The project grew into something of a legend within the computer science department and campus network administration offices. At one point, the BackRub crawler consumed nearly half of Stanford's entire network bandwidth, an extraordinary fact considering that Stanford was one of the best-networked institutions on the planet. And in the fall of 1996 the project would regularly bring down Stanford's Internet connection.

"We're lucky there were a lot of forward-looking people at Stanford," Page recalls. "They didn't hassle us too much about the resources we were using."

A Company Emerges 
As Brin and Page continued experimenting, BackRub and its Google implementation were generating buzz, both on the Stanford campus and within the cloistered world of academic Web research.

One person who had heard of Page and Brin's work was Cornell professor Jon Kleinberg, then researching bibliometrics and search technologies at IBM's Almaden center in San Jose. Kleinberg's hubs-and-authorities approach to ranking the Web is perhaps the second-most-famous approach to search after PageRank. In the summer of 1997, Kleinberg visited Page at Stanford to compare notes. Kleinberg had completed an early draft of his seminal paper, "Authoritative Sources," and Page showed him an early working version of Google. Kleinberg encouraged Page to publish an academic paper on PageRank.

Page told Kleinberg that he was wary of publishing. The reason? "He was concerned that someone might steal his ideas, and with PageRank, Page felt like he had the secret formula," Kleinberg told me. (Page and Brin eventually did publish.)

On the other hand, Page and Brin weren't sure they wanted to go through the travails of starting and running a company. During Page's first year at Stanford, his father died, and friends recall that Page viewed finishing his PhD as something of a tribute to him. Given his own academic upbringing, Brin, too, was reluctant to leave the programme.

Brin remembers speaking with his adviser, who told him, "Look, if this Google thing pans out, then great. If not, you can return to graduate school and finish your thesis." He chuckles, then adds: "I said, 'Yeah, OK, why not? I'll just give it a try.'"

Now Google has grown over 21 years to become an American multinational technology company valued at over US$527 billion and specializing in Internet-related services and products including online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software and hardware. However, Google got it’s start as a student research project in January 1996 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both PhD students at Standford, University, California, United States decided to find a way to rank the credibility of each web page in any given subject for published papers.
From The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, copyright © by John Battelle, published September 2015 by Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Battelle ( was one of the founders of Wired.

Originally published on WIRED

Saturday, March 25, 2017

NEWS POST: Homegrown Technology Is Being Used To Help Millions At Risk From A Devastating Famine In Africa

Unprecedented crisis. (The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies/Handout via Reuters)

Two weeks ago, in Stockholm, Mohammed Omer and four of his friends gathered to talk about the biting drought ravaging their home country, Somalia. Beyond donating funds, the tech developers and social activists came together to discuss ideas to assist those in need of immediate relief. Eventually, they decided to use Ushahidi the Kenyan open source software to develop a platform that would allow responders to connect with drought victims.

The result was Abaaraha (“drought” in Somali), a crowdsourcing platform that collects and verifies data through text, phone calls, email, and social media alerts. The web portal, which went live on Mar. 16, maps cases of malnutrition, disease outbreaks, and death. “There are no platforms that provide full information” with regards to the drought, says Omer. They’re “trying to fill that gap and to [help] coordinate the relief efforts that are taking place.”

An unprecedented crisis is currently gripping Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen, threatening the lives of 20 million people, according to the United Nations (UN). More than 5 million people face acute food shortages in northeast Nigeria, and famine in parts of South Sudan threatens more than 7.5 million people. In Somalia, where cholera outbreaks have killed hundreds of people, the looming famine threatens 6.2 million—more than half the population. It threatens to bring back the grim reality of 2011, when 260,000 Somalis starved to death.

Not waiting on donors, young African professionals are connecting, collaborating, and raising funds to help those in need. 

The UN has given its Food and Agriculture Organization a US$22 million loan to help tackle the crisis. Yet, that’s a far cry from the US$4.4 billion they need by July to stall Yemenis, Somalis, Nigerians and South Sudanese from dying. But, not waiting on donors, young African professionals both at home and in the diaspora are taking the initiative to connect, collaborate, and raise funds and relief materials to assuage those in need. Equipped with smartphones and access to the internet, they are especially using social media outlets to spread the news about the drought and create positive change.

While raising awareness and funds is a vital part of managing the famine crisis, tech platforms like Abraaraha and others also help authorities identify, track and efficiently respond to specific areas in need, and in turn, helping avert deaths or a humanitarian catastrophe.

Global traction
These collective efforts have started gaining global traction and drawing the attention of both governments and non-governmental agencies. Their efforts, in countries where governments are known to be slow-paced, inefficient and even corrupt, can prove to be the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands at risk of hunger and disease.

Mapping platform Abaaraha helps connect relief responders with Somalia’s drought victims.

Bukky Shonibare is an activist and social impact worker, who alongside a group of well-meaning Nigerians, launched Adopt-A-Camp in 2015. The collaborative effort focused on sourcing donations through a dedicated online portal to provide amenities to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps. With the northeast devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency over much of the past decade, thousands of Nigerians have been left homeless and remain in congested camps.

Adopt-A-Camp raised US$28,000 last year (pdf, p. 8) and built two learning hubs for out-of-school kids as well as a health center and toilet facilities in Biu IDP camp, in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state. Across the three IDP camps in which it operates, backed mainly by donations from individuals, Adopt-A-Camp says over 6,000 IDPs are now beneficiaries of its donations, which also include food and basic necessities, like clothes.
Individuals made up 94% of donations Adopt-A-Camp received in 2016
Hashtag fundraising
Twitter has especially been a critical tool to raise funds and build these virtual communities. After the hashtag Caawi Walaal (meaning “help a brother or a sister” in Somali) started circulating online, a group of volunteers got together to brand it and use it to sponsor 500 families living in drought-affected areas.

Their collective efforts raised more than $30,000 in total through mobile money transfers and a GoFundMe campaign. A one-day fundraising ceremony in Mogadishu also collected US$15,000 in donations. Beyond Twitter, in Somaliland, friends and family members have also been forming groups on the instant messaging platform WhatsApp, urging each other to donate money and to sponsor hard-hit families.

Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the co-founders of the Walaal campaign, says the funds have allowed them to distribute food, medicine, and water in more than six regions across Somalia. “The biggest impact from all these collaborative efforts is that the information about the drought has helped spread all over,” Ibrahim said.

Celebrities all over the world, like Ben Stiller and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick with help from Turkish Airlines, have joined the campaign to help Somalis facing starvation. The campaign, known as the Love Army for Somaliahas collected US$2 million in less than a week .

In Nigeria, there have been similar social media-based fundraising efforts. Back in 2014, Modupe Odele, a lawyer now based in New York, went on a trip to northeast Nigeria. Gripped by the grim realities of residents whose lives had been devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, Odele decided to start a campaign to donate blankets to IDPs. It started with one tweet, Odele says, but along with a group of interested people, the blanket drive has donated not only blankets but also other relief materials every month till date.

“It was more than a blanket drive, the goal was to draw people’s attention to what was going on in the northeast,” Odele says.

Also in Nigeria, Oghenekaro Omu set up Sanitary Aid for Nigerian Girls (SANG), a campaign to donate sanitary pads to “girls from low-income homes and the girls in the IDP camps.” More than giving them pads, Omu says the project will also focus on teaching the girls about sanitary hygiene in general.

Over-populated IDP camps have been struck by disease outbreaks, with young girls who are unable to access sanitary items, particularly at risk. Since launching the project, Omu says over 3,000 sanitary pads have been provided—all through social media donations. SANG has also snagged blue chip support: earlier this month, it announced a partnership with Microsoft.

Checks and balances
Ibrahim from Caawi Walaal says that some contributors have been worried about whether or not the monies could be misappropriated. He says they partnered with Somalia’s umbrella organization for private schools, who manage the funds under a subsidiary account. “We have ensured that transparency and documentation are followed to the letter, but again, that they should help us disperse the funds faster.”

In Nigeria, transparency presents a bigger challenge. Reports of IDP camp officials stealing and selling donated items have resulted in government-sanctioned probes. It’s not just lowly officials either: back in December, the Nigerian senate uncovered an US$8 million relief fund fraud implicating a high ranking official in the presidency.

To check fraud, Orodata, a Lagos-based civic startup has created IDP Tracker, an online tool with which provides crucial information on camps for the internally displaced in Nigeria’s northeast. Blaise Aboh, the lead data analyst at Orodata, says data from IDP Tracker will boost transparency around relief operations and also help NGOs and government policy-makers understand the scale of the problem as well as make more informed decisions.

Internally displaced persons population in Nigeria [June 2016] (Orodata)
Originally published on QUARTZ AFRICA

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NEWS POST Niger: Innovative Vaccine Could Prevent Thousands Of Child Deaths From Diarrhoea

In the laboratory of Maradi, a team of a dozen people receive about 1,200 specimens (blood, urine/stool, mothers' breast milk...) every week, to be analysed for the trial. Séverine Bonnet-Médecins sans Frontières
An innovative new vaccine which could prevent large numbers of children from dying of diarrhoea in sub-Saharan Africa has been successfully trialled in Niger.

Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea and kills an estimated 1,300 children each day, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. A new and innovative  vaccine – known as BRV-PV – has been shown to be both safe and effective against rotavirus, according to the results of a recent trial in Niger, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 23 March. The new vaccine is particularly adapted to the strains found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Diarrhoea is the second biggest cause of death in infants and children. Most of these deaths occur in low-income countries, in places where access to water and sanitation is limited, and where people are unable to get the medical care that could save their child’s life. In such situations, preventive measures such as vaccinations have an enormous impact.

“This is a game-changer,” says MSF Medical Director Dr Micaela Serafini. “We believe that the new vaccine can bring protection against rotavirus to the children who need it most.”

Currently two vaccines exist against rotavirus, but they must be kept refrigerated at all times. The most innovative aspect of the new vaccine is that it is heat stable, so it does not require refrigeration. This will make it much easier to reach communities in remote areas who have limited access to health services and are most in need of the vaccine.

The new vaccine is also adapted to the type of rotavirus most commonly found in sub-Saharan countries. It is affordable, with a price of under US$2.50, which is much cheaper than the lowest price of rotavirus vaccines currently available. This should allow it to be rolled out quickly as part of routine immunization programmes. The new vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, will also fill the current supply gaps for the existing vaccines.

An efficacy trial of the BRV-PV vaccine – conducted by MSF’s research and epidemiology branch, Epicentre, in collaboration with the Nigerien Ministry of Health, the Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and other partners – was recently conducted in Niger’s Maradi region, involving more than 4,000 children under two years old. Results showed that the vaccine has no safety concerns and  has been proven efficacious against severe gastroenteritis.

The BRV-PV vaccine is currently under review by the World Health Organization (WHO) for prequalification. Once approved, low-income countries will be able to procure the vaccine at an affordable price and roll it out in their countries.

“The success of this trial shows that research and development into vaccines that are specifically adapted for use in low-income countries yields results,” says Dr Serafini. “The quicker this vaccine is prequalified by the WHO, the sooner it can be used to prevent the deaths of thousands of children in the countries where it is needed most.”

Originally published on MSF WEBSITE