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.

the sting Milestones

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

Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

Khashoggi trial in Saudi Arabia falls short of independent, international probe needed: UN rights chief

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Venezuela-Colombia baby breakthrough, Italy piles on rescue boat pressure, States must combat hate, Kashmir rights latest and a musical plea to combat CAR hunger

Climate change will force us to redefine economic growth

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

UN launches Facebook Messenger-powered bot to take on climate change

Keeping cool in the face of climate change

‘Favour dialogue’ over violence, UN chief urges all parties following clashes in Mali’s capital

Building climate resilience and peace, go hand in hand for Africa’s Sahel – UN forum

Being blinded by labels stops social change. Art helps us see a better future

Here’s why upskilling is crucial to drive the post-COVID recovery

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

Protecting refugees in Europe: UNHCR calls for a ‘year of change’

Yemen: UN envoy asks Security Council for more support ‘to move back’ to the negotiating table

Is the EU denying its social character favouring a banking conglomerate?

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

How the US should react to the pandemic, according to Bill Gates

One million facing food shortages, nutrition crisis after Mozambique cyclones: UNICEF

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Do doctors need to know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity?

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

The UK referendum has already damaged Europe: even a ‘remain’ result is not without cost to Britain and the EU

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

5 things to know about African migration

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

If we want to solve climate change, water governance is our blueprint

Minsk “ceasefire” leaves more doubts than safety, with EU already planning steps further

Trade: First year of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement shows growth in EU exports

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

Parallel downfalls of Merkel and Deutsche Bank threaten Germany and Europe

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

A new proposal breaks the stalemate over the Banking Union

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

AI can be a game-changer for the world’s forests. Here’s how

What young people can teach world leaders about mental health in 2020

How can you or your organization support the Hour of Pride initiative?

Why do humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women?

Russia and the West to partition Ukraine?

Uzbekistan wins its long fight against malaria, as global rates continue to rise

Clean air is good for business

These are the world’s 20 most dynamic cities

Making the most of the Sustainable Development Goal 3: its overlooked role in medical education

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

An all-out fight for the EU budget

World Digital Media Awards winners announced at WNMC.19 in Glasgow, in association with The European Sting

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

Forget GDP – for the 21st century we need a modern growth measure

David Attenborough’s worried about this ocean threat – and it’s not plastic

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

UN ceasefire monitoring chief tours Yemeni port of Hudaydah

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

Consumers’ rights against defective digital content agreed by EU lawmakers

Parliament mobilised to channel EU funds to those affected by Coronavirus pandemic

More Stings?

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