“A group of health organizations [on Wednesday] launched a new international consortium to better prepare the clinical research community to respond to the next pandemic or other emerging health threat,” CIDRAP News reports (Schnirring, 12/7). “The International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium (ISARIC) is a global collaboration of over 20 hospital-based clinical research networks … aimed at ensuring the clinical researchers have in place the necessary open access protocols and data-sharing processes and have considered the ethical issues that will allow them to respond to rapidly emerging diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential, such as the recent pandemic H1N1 influenza and SARS outbreaks and potentially other rapidly emerging public health threats,” according to a Wellcome Trust press release.
Private Sector Involvement
Pharmaceutical company Merck (MSD) announced Monday it has “awarded a grant to PATH, a global health nonprofit, to identify game-changing technologies with the potential to save the lives of women during pregnancy and childbirth in low-resource settings,” according to a Merck press release. Led by scientists from Merck for Mothers,…
“The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here?” James Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and former under secretary of state for public affairs and public diplomacy, writes in this Forbes opinion piece. Noting the “incredible accomplishment” made in fighting HIV/AIDS over the past decade, Glassman says “the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some,” and states that the UNAIDS targets of “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths” “soun[d] right.”
“If the momentum gained in the last few years” in fighting global diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, measles, and meningitis “is any indicator of our future trajectory, we are standing on the threshold of a revolutionary change in the state of global health,” Wendy Taylor, senior adviser of Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID, and David Cook, executive vice president and COO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), write in this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” They discuss the importance of “Product Development Partnerships, or PDPs for short,” which “are great examples of public-private collaborations [that] are starting to build deep pipelines for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.”
“China’s vaccine makers are gearing up over the next few years to push exports in a move that should lower costs of lifesaving immunizations for the world’s poor and provide major new competition for the big Western pharmaceutical companies,” the Associated Press reports in a feature examining the entry of Chinese vaccine makers into the international market. “China’s entry into this field is important because one child dies every 20 seconds from vaccine-preventable diseases each year,” the news agency writes, adding that the country’s “vaccine makers, some of whom already export in small amounts, are confident they will soon become big players in the field” (Wong, 11/29).
Thousands of government and private aid officials will meet in Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday for the beginning of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which is “aimed at making sure billions of dollars in global aid money gets to the people who need it most,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (11/29). “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend [the] summit in Busan, held against a backdrop of economic crisis in the United States and Europe and the rich world’s repeated failure to meet its targets for helping the poorest nations,” Reuters writes (Quinn, 11/28).
Bloomberg Examines Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Initiative And Potential Impact To U.S. Global Efforts To Tackle HIV
Bloomberg examines how a trade agreement being negotiated by leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries — Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States — could potentially make it more difficult for people in TPP nations to get new generic drugs and may impact U.S.-led global efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS as outlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent speech at the NIH.
In this Forbes opinion piece, journalist Sarika Bansal examines five ways in which pharmaceutical companies can address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including creating cross-sectorial research partnerships for neglected diseases; joining patent pools for neglected diseases; donating drugs for neglected diseases; creating facilities dedicated to neglected disease research; and allowing scientists to work on neglected disease, both formally and informally.
IRIN profiles the establishment of a “‘fistula hotline,’ a free phone number for women who suffer from this debilitating condition that is seldom spoken about,” at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre, a clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone. “The fistula hotline, which is run by the center, is the result of a public-private partnership between the Gloag Foundation, USAID, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and telecommunications company Airtel,” IRIN notes.
The Wall Street Journal last week held its CEO Council, “assembl[ing] nearly 100 chief executives of large companies for a day and a half to discuss the policy choices facing business and government, and the effects those choices may have on the global economy.” The CEOs formed five task forces to discuss priority areas, including global health, according to the newspaper (11/21). The Wall Street Journal summarizes the top four recommended priorities from the task-force discussion on global health, which include fighting non-communicable diseases, encouraging the global use of health technologies, targeting vaccine-preventable diseases, and stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS (Landro, 11/21).