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Malaria Conference Addresses RTS,S Vaccine, Tools, Treatment

On Tuesday at the 5th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, scientists and global health experts focused on malaria eradication, Agence France-Presse reports. “Key among the strategies … is the development of an effective anti-malaria vaccine, a project scientists have been researching since the late 80s. … RTS,S is the most clinically advanced malaria vaccine so far, according to the Malaria Vaccine Initiative,” the news service writes (11/3).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Kaiser Family Foundation Looks At Views On The U.S. Role In Global Health As a follow-up to a survey conducted in May 2009, this poll examines Americans’ attitudes toward U.S. global health investments and priorities. Some key findings include: the majority of Americans support maintaining (32%) or increasing (34%) spending on…

Battle To Control Malaria In Cambodia 'Not Over'

“Two years after some $22 million in donor funds were pumped into malaria control along the Cambodia-Thailand border to fight off suspected resistance to treatment, health workers say the battle is not over,” IRIN reports, adding, “The government reported 103,000 malaria infections and 151 deaths nationwide in 2010. A year later, 85,000 reported infections led to 93 deaths — a 38-percent decline in mortality.” “‘If you take your foot off the … [accelerator] we can lose everything we have done in the past two to three years,’ Steven Bjorge, anti-malaria team leader in Cambodia for the [WHO], told IRIN in February 2012,” the news service writes.

WHO Warns Of Drug-Resistant Strains Of Gonorrhea

“Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea have spread to countries across the world, the U.N. health agency said on Wednesday, and millions of patients may run out of treatment options unless doctors catch and treat cases earlier,” Reuters reports (Kelland, 6/6). “Already several countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are reporting cases of resistance to cephalosporin antibiotics — the last treatment option against gonorrhea,” a WHO press release states (6/6).

Survey Finds 1 In 10 New Cases Of TB In China Are Drug-Resistant

“One in 10 cases of tuberculosis in China cannot be treated by the most commonly-used drugs, driven by a lack of testing and misuse of medicine, according to a national survey that showed for the first time the size of the drug-resistant epidemic,” the Associated Press reports (Wong, 6/7). “‘In 2007, one third of the patients with new cases of tuberculosis and one half of the patients with previously treated tuberculosis had drug-resistant disease,’ said the study in the New England Journal of Medicine,” Agence France-Presse reports, adding, “Even more, the prevalence of multi-drug resistant [tuberculosis (MDR-TB)] in new cases (5.7 percent) was nearly twice the global average, said the study” (6/6).

Emergence Of Drug Resistance To ARVs Has Potential To 'Curb, And Even Reverse' Gains Against HIV

Noting that the “[r]oll-out of antiretroviral treatment for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa has been accompanied by rising rates of drug resistance,” Raph Hamers, a global health research fellow at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues “call for improved patient management and the integration of population-based drug resistance surveillance into national treatment programs” in this BMJ analysis. “In sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest HIV/AIDS burden, high-level political commitment and substantial international funding have led to an unparalleled scale-up of access to treatment over the past eight years,” they write, adding, “However, little attention has been paid to the potential emergence and spread of drug-resistant HIV and its public health implications.”

Nature Examines Efforts To Combat Antibiotic Resistance In India

Nature examines efforts to combat antibiotic resistance in India, writing, “Antibiotic resistance is a problem worldwide, but is particularly worrying in India, where hospital standards are inconsistent and antibiotics are readily available over the counter at pharmacies.” The magazine highlights “India’s first joint medical-society meeting on antibiotic resistance, held on 24 August in Chennai,” noting, “The symposium is part of an ongoing campaign by Indian clinicians for a national policy to curb misuse of these vital drugs.” It continues, “Last week, physicians moved a step closer to their goal when India’s drug regulators announced a plan that would put tight restrictions on the sale of antibiotics.”

Old Anti-Inflammatory Drug Possible Candidate To Treat TB

After testing about 5,600 existing medications for their effectiveness against drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB), researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that oxyphenbutazone, “an anti-inflammatory medication marketed in the 1950s as Tandearil and still used in veterinary medicine,” killed both latent and active TB bacteria in test-tube experiments, the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. The medication is inexpensive, estimated to cost two cents per day in developing countries, according to the researchers, but it needs to go through “a series of clinical trials in which researchers would flesh out, in a human population, the medication’s safety and effectiveness record at various doses, in different patient populations and at different stages of the disease,” the blog writes.

History Of TB Policy Shows Need For Care, Investment Equity In Developed, Developing Countries

In a 200th anniversary article for the New England Journal of Medicine, Salmaan Keshavjee of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Paul Farmer of Partners in Health “seek to elucidate the reasons for the anemic response to drug-resistant tuberculosis [TB] by examining the recent history of tuberculosis policy,” they write. The authors outline the history of TB drug development and how the disease became resistant to myriad drugs, and write that by the 1970s, “[t]uberculosis, whether caused by drug-susceptible or drug-resistant strains, rarely made even medical headlines, in part because its importance as a cause of death continued to decline in areas in which headlines are written. They continue, “In the United States, federal funding for tuberculosis research was cut; consequently, drug discovery, development of diagnostics, and vaccine research ground almost to a halt.”

Common Infections Could Become Deadly With Increase In Antibiotic Resistance, WHO’s Chan Says

As more bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, “common infections could become deadly, according to” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, who spoke on Wednesday at a conference titled “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: Time for Action” in Copenhagen, ABC News reports. “‘Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry,’ said Chan. ‘A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill,’” the news service notes (Moisse, 3/16).