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Millions of Pakistani infants short of anti-TB vaccination

Millions of infants in Pakistan will miss anti-tuberculosis immunization due to a countrywide shortage of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine that protects them from tuberculosis.

Islamabad: Millions of infants in Pakistan will miss anti-tuberculosis immunization due to a countrywide shortage of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine that protects them from tuberculosis.

The situation is more acute in Punjab province as the federal Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) did not provide BCG vaccine to the province for the month of February, Dawn Online reported Tuesday.

Under-five children form 15.2 percent of the population in Punjab, one of the most populous provinces of the country.

The federal EPI has categorically conveyed to the provinces that it has not yet received this particular vaccine from Unicef primarily due to its unavailability in the global market.

It is for the first time that infants have been denied BCG vaccine from February 1.

According to official figures, over five million children are born every year in Pakistan.

This vaccine is on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) list of essential medicines, being the most important medication needed in a basic healthcare system.

Unicef has expressed its inability to ensure the supply of this vaccine to the federal government before April 2015 as its manufacturing had come down globally.

One of the study's authors, Mercedes Clemente-Postigo, said that the major strength of this study was that it compares vitamin D levels in people at a wide range of weights while taking whether they had diabetes into account.

The cross-sectional study compared vitamin D biomarkers in 118 participants at the university hospital Virgen de la Victoria in Malaga as well as 30 participants from the Hospital Universitari Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain. All participants were classified by their body-mass index (BMI) as well as whether they had diabetes, prediabetes or no glycemic disorders. Researchers measured levels of vitamin D in the participants' blood streams and vitamin D receptor gene expression in adipose tissue.

The analysis found that obese subjects who did not have glucose metabolism disorders had higher levels of vitamin D than diabetic subjects. Likewise, lean subjects with diabetes or another glucose metabolism disorder were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D levels were directly correlated with glucose levels, but not with BMI.

Manuel Macias-Gonzalez, PhD, said that the study suggests that vitamin D deficiency and obesity interact synergistically to heighten the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. The average person may be able to reduce their risk by maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough outdoor activity.

The study is published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

From Zee News

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