By 2031 developing countries could need an estimated $35 billion to fight HIV/AIDS â€“ three times the amount currently spent, according to a Health Affairs study published Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The analysis â€“ based on economic models that assumed condoms, drugs and circumcision would be widespread – found that “even under the best case … more than one million people would be newly infected each year.
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
“The Intellectual Property & Science division of Thomson Reuters [on Tuesday] announced the publication of a new study tracking the current status of research on neglected tropical diseases [NTDs],” a Thomson Reuters Corporation press release reports. “The Global Research Report Neglected Tropical Diseases analyzes research output across countries and fields from 1992-2011 and finds a two-fold increase in published literature focused on a group of diseases identified by the World Health Organization as underserved by public health services,” the press release states, adding, “Despite these recent gains, the total research output is still significantly less than that of ‘first world’ diseases” (6/19).
The “growing public health problems” of West Nile and dengue viruses in the U.S. can “serve as opportunities to pull the U.S. squarely into the global fight against these mosquito-borne viruses,” a Bloomberg View editorial states. “The two illnesses have come to the U.S. courtesy of climate change and globalization,” the editorial notes, writing, “No vaccines, no cures and no specific medicines exist to prevent or treat dengue or West Nile.” It continues, “That is not uncommon for illnesses that predominantly affect the developing world,” as “[c]ompanies with the know-how to develop such products have generally lacked the profit motive to make the necessary investments, given that sales would be mainly in poor countries.”
“The Kenyan government has launched guidelines for the treatment and prevention of visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala azar or black fever, in a move government officials say is meant to contain the parasitic disease, which is endemic in the northern region of the country,” IRIN reports. “The new guidelines call for, among other things, the use of rapid diagnostic test kits, mobile test centers and the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets in areas where the disease is most prevalent,” the news service writes, adding, “The treatment has also been reduced from a 30-day single-dose treatment to a 17-day double-dose injection.” “‘These guidelines will ensure that early diagnosis of kala azar is done so that those infected can get timely and effective treatment,’ Shahnaz Sharif, the director of public health, told IRIN,” the news service notes (9/27).
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), a regional arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday “unveiled new guidelines to help countries throughout the Americas detect and prevent transmission of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus — a disease which has already infected more than two million people around the world,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The guidelines’ authors, PAHO adviser on viral diseases Otavio Oliva and PAHO adviser on dengue Jose Luis San Martin, warned that the fact that people in the Americas have not been exposed to chikungunya virus, placed the region at particular risk for the introduction and spread of the virus,” the news service adds (2/28).
The Washington Post examines global efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease, writing, “The parasitic infection which has sickened millions, mostly in Asia and Africa, is on the verge of being done in not by sophisticated medicine but by aggressive public health efforts in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world.” According to the newspaper, “hundreds of thousands of volunteers” have contributed to fighting the waterborne parasite, by handing out filtered drinking straws or treating water sources with larvicide, among other efforts. “As a result, the ailment, also known as dracunculiasis, is poised to become the second human disease (the first was smallpox) to be eradicated — and the first to be eliminated without the aid of a vaccine,” the Washington Post continues.
This post in the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog, part of a six-part series of blog posts covering interesting elements of the Nicaragua experience highlighted in the case study entitled “Worms and WASH(ED),” examines how the country’s “history in ensuring a national deworming program has shed light on the potential for success.” According to the blog, “[f]ormer Global Network intern, Frankie Lucien, and fellow George Washington University Masters student, Cara Janusz, traveled to Nicaragua and investigated the challenges and achievements of the Nicaragua experience and developed a case study with support from Children Without Worms” (Mayer, 8/21).
As the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — invest more in innovations in health technologies and other areas, “many are looking to these countries to correct the global health research and development (R&D) imbalance that leaves the poor without needed products such as an improved tuberculosis (TB) vaccine or tests to help diagnose patients in remote rural settings,” David de Ferranti, president of Results for Development Institute (R4D), writes in the Huffington Post Blog. Writing that “India, which has already played such an important role in manufacturing affordable antiretroviral drugs, vaccines, and other essential health commodities for developing countries,” de Ferranti asks whether India “is … ready to play a leading role in health R&D?”
“The World Health Organization reports Guinea worm disease, which has plagued people for thousands of years, is on the verge of eradication,” VOA News reports. “The U.N. agency says fewer than 400 cases of the infectious parasitic disease exist in four African countries, and that it will soon become only the second, after smallpox, to be wiped off the face of the earth,” the news service writes (Schlein, 8/28). “The number of Guinea worm disease cases has dropped from 3,190 in 2009 to just under 396 cases during the first six months of 2012, according to the [WHO],” the U.N. News Centre notes, adding, “Gautam Biswas of WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases told a news conference in Geneva … that aggressive public health and hygiene awareness among the communities where the disease is still endemic is vital to eradicating it” (8/28).
“New research supported by Sightsavers and the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) shows that yes, onchocerciasis really can be eliminated when treatment is distributed in an area for a sustained period” and “found that the disease may already be eliminated in one Nigerian state, marking a significant milestone for onchocerciasis control programs,” the Global Network for Neglected Diseases’ “End the Neglect” blog writes (Alabaster, 3/6). “I think … the lesson here [is that] results don’t happen over night, but when the programs are given time to achieve them and the right systems are in place to monitor and measure them, great things can happen,” Karen Grepin writes of the study in her “Global Health Blog” (3/6).