WHO study reveals ‘game-changer’ drug with potential to save thousands of women’s lives in childbirth

UNICEF/Ilvy Njiokiktjien
Mother Celia Virginia Flores Mamani, 37, holds her seven-day-old baby daughter Priscilla Solamita Meza Flores, who was born at the health centre in Yaurisque District, Paruro Province, Peru, Saturday 10 February 2018.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

A stand-by drug used to prevent potentially-fatal bleeding after childbirth has some new competition – with improved benefits, according a United Nations health agency-led report.

Excessive bleeding after childbirth still kills around 70,000 mothers a year and currently, Oxytocin is the first-choice medication, but it must be kept cold, unlike the new drug, Carbetocin.

The study, partly led, among others, by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published on Wednesday, suggests that the new drug which can be stored at normal temperatures, could save the lives of thousands in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

“This is a truly encouraging new development that can revolutionize our ability to keep mothers and babies alive,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Since Oxytocin must be stored and transported at a cool two to eight degrees Celsius – a difficult task in many countries – numerous women lack access to the medicine. And if they can obtain it, heat exposure may render the drug less effective.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has shown the heat-stable Carbetocin is not only as safe and effective as Oxytocin, but even without refrigeration – when stored at below 30 degrees Celsius and 75 per cent relative humidity – it retains its efficacy for at least three years.

Clinical trial

WHO notes that approximately 70,000 women die annually from postpartum haemorrhage – increasing the risk that their babies will also die within a month.

In the largest clinical trial of its kind, close to 30,000 women who gave birth vaginally were studied in Argentina, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.

Immediately after child birth, each woman was randomly injected with a single dose of either heat-stable Carbetocin or Oxytocin – revealing that both were equally effective at preventing excessive bleeding.

“The development of a drug to prevent postpartum hemorrhage that continues to remain effective in hot and humid conditions is very good news for the millions of women who give birth in parts of the world without access to reliable refrigeration,” said Metin Gülmezoglu of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

While Carbetocin has not yet been cleared for use beyond clinical trials, the next steps begin with a regulatory review, countries’ approval and then consideration by WHO’s Guideline Development Group.

However, the UN health agency said on Wednesday, that following the positive trial results, it will be working to advance affordable access to the potentially lifesaving drug in countries with a high maternal death rate.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Energy Union: from vision to reality

We can meet the SDGs using the wisdom of crowds. Here’s how

Deal on faster exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

EU summit: No energy against tax evasion and fraud

The great challenge of the 21st century is learning to consume less. This is how we can do it

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

Factories are no longer the sure route to prosperity. Here’s why

The 5 stages of acceptance as robots enter the workforce

Situation in central Mali ‘deteriorating’ as violence, impunity rise, UN rights expert warns

3 ways to accelerate the energy transition

The 13th round of TTIP negotiations hits a wall of intense protests and growing concerns

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

6 surprising side effects of this year’s global heatwave

France and Germany can’t reach consensus regarding EU’s top jobs

Climate change and its adverse impacts on health

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

12 ideas on how the private sector can help ensure universal healthcare access by 2030

What will Germany look like after the next election?

Monday’s Daily Brief: Nigeria massacre, Libya shelling condemned; recycled plastic used to build classrooms in Côte d’Ivoire

Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on State aid measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19

Austrian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

European Citizens’ Initiative: A game of much publicity and one big lie

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

5 ways to fast-track the transition to a carbon neutral world

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

5 things you might not know about Leonardo da Vinci

World response to AIDS epidemic at a ‘critical juncture’

Whose interests are protected by the new Mortgage Directive?

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Here’s how to check in on your AI system, as COVID-19 plays havoc

As Saudi women take the wheel, UN chief hopes end of driving ban creates more opportunities for kingdom’s women and girls

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Finnish Prime Minister calls for a more united EU of concrete actions

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

Pakistan has just planted over a billion trees

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

Mergers: Commission clears Telia’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting, subject to conditions

How the mobile industry is driving climate progress on the scale of a major economy

New book honours UN women who made HERstory

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

This is how people in Europe are helping lead the energy charge

Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health

‘Many challenges to overcome’ at UN, in fight against abuse: victims’ advocate

UN expert criticizes States for ‘ganging up’ on Wikileaks’ Assange; warns against extradition, fearing ‘serious’ rights violations

How a 3-point plan could help rebuild business for the long-term

To entrepreneurship and beyond!

Crowdfunding: what it is and what it may become

Pride in practice: Equality in access to health services for the LGBT community in a third-world country

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights marks its 10th anniversary

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

EU gas market: new rules agreed will also cover gas pipelines entering the EU

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Primary Health Care: in a world of specializations

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2014: The Digital Era: A New Business Frontier

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s