Published: Thursday 31 October 1996

The first comprehensive report on the World Health Organization's vaccination programmes, State of the World's Vaccines and Immunisation , reveals that under the expanded programme on immunisation, 80 per cent of the world's children have been immunised against six common childhood diseases, saving three million lives a year. However, new vaccines, mostly genetically engineered, slated for release in the coming five to 15 years which could save some eight million children annually the world over, may not reach the children in the poor countries due to financial constraints, discloses the report, published on September 25, in Geneva.

At the UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC) held on October 3-4 at Paris, bioethics and women, issues related to food and plant biotechnology and a draft declaration on the human genome were the important issues under discussion. The IBC, set up in 1983, is the UN body which probes the facets of genome research and genetic engineering worldwide.

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