Cir­cum­ci­sion de­vice made in China gains ap­proval of WHO

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By SHAN JUAN and YANG WANLI

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion au­tho­rized the pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion to a male cir­cum­ci­sion de­vice made in China, which is ex­pected to con­trib­ute to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

The WHO an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that the ShangRing — named af­ter its Chi­nese in­ven­tor, Shang Jianzhong — meets ac­cept­able stan­dards of qual­ity, safety and ef­fi­cacy for male cir­cum­ci­sion.

“The pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of ShangRing is highly ex­cit­ing. It’s a great ex­am­ple of Chi­nese in­no­va­tion. The pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion by the WHO is another ex­am­ple of the in­creas­ing role China is tak­ing in global health,” said Bern­hard Schwart­lander, the WHO Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in China.

Ac­cord­ing to Schwart­lander, the ShangRing is the first Chi­nese-man­u­fac­tured de­vice of its kind to have been WHOpre­qual­i­fied, and only the sec­ond such de­vice to be WHOpre­qual­i­fied glob­ally.

The ShangRing is a dis­pos­able de­vice that con­sists of two con­cen­tric rings that clamp to­gether and ex­pose the nat­u­ral fore­skin of the penis in such a way that it can be re­moved sur­gi­cally, but with min­i­mal bleed­ing.

The ring is re­moved seven days af­ter the surgery when the wound has healed. Dif­fer­ent from the con­ven­tional surgery, the pro­ce­dure doesn’t re­quire stitches, and the pa­tient is al­lowed to bathe and only re­quires oral an­tibi­otics.

The use of the ring also cuts the pro­ce­dure time to about three to five min­utes from about 30 be­fore.

“This new de­vice will be es­pe­cially valu­able and help­ful in low re­source set­tings given that it does not re­quire the use of hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties for surgery. It’s a highly prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion,” Schwart­lander said.

WHO’s list of pre­qual­i­fied medic­i­nal prod­ucts is used by in­ter­na­tional pro­cure­ment agen­cies and in­creas­ingly by coun­tries to guide bulk pur­chas­ing of medicines.

“The sig­nif­i­cance of cir­cum­ci­sion has al­ready shown in some African coun­tries since the surgery has been widely pro­moted in the re­gion grad­u­ally in the past decade,” said Philip S. Li, as­so­ciate re­search pro­fes­sor of urol­ogy at Weill Cor­nell Med­i­cal Col­lege of Cor­nell Univer­sity.

Li and his col­leagues have con­ducted clin­i­cal tri­als and re­searches on the ShangRing for years in Africa since 2009.

Clin­i­cal tri­als, many done in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, have demon­strated that cir­cum­ci­sion re­duces HIV/AIDS in­fec­tion risk by 50 to 60 per­cent in the pop­u­la­tion at risk.

In­fec­tion rates have plum­meted in re­cent years be­cause of public ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns by gov­ern­ments that em­pha­size con­dom use and the ar­rival of new an­tivi­ral drugs, African health author­i­ties say.

No data are avail­able on the cir­cum­ci­sion rate in China, but anec­do­tal ev­i­dence from the med­i­cal com­mu­nity sug­gests that less than 5 per­cent of males are cir­cum­cised. Most suf­fer no prob­lems from dis­eases.

But the new cir­cum­ci­sion ring could help some peo­ple.

“With the WHO’s pre­qual­i­fi­ca­tion, the ShangRing will rapidly spread its ben­e­fits world­wide and pro­vide a cheaper and ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to the global HIV/AIDS con­trol,” said Cheng Feng, pro­gram di­rec­tor of Re­search Cen­ter for Public Health at Ts­inghua Univer­sity. Con­tact the writ­ers through yang­wanli@chi­ cn

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