The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a partnership to support new research and development (R&D) and production of new products for global health and agriculture, Agence France-Presse reports (10/26).
“The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) launched a consortium on Wednesday that would allow the public and private sector to share intellectual property to promote the development of new drugs to treat diseases such as malaria,” Reuters reports (10/26). “Under the agreement between [WIPO], … the companies and the non-profit BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), public and private sector organizations will share valuable intellectual property (IP) and expertise with the global health research community on WIPO Re:Search, a virtual platform,” the U.N. News Centre writes (10/26).
Pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co. is expected to announce on Tuesday it “is pledging $30 million to help fight multidrug-resistant tuberculosis [MDR-TB] in developing countries, a disease that kills more than 150,000 people a year,” according to the Indianapolis Star. The funds, part of the company’s eight-year-old, $165 million Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, will help to “provide training for nurses, doctors and community volunteers; conduct studies on how to combat the disease; and provide access to medicines,” the newspaper notes. The campaign will focus on China, India, Russia and South Africa, “the four countries with the highest burden of MDR-TB, Lilly said,” the Indianapolis Star writes (10/25).
An electronic voucher system, introduced by the World Food Programme (WFP) and implemented by the health ministry and non-governmental organizations, is helping Zimbabweans living with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) and their families obtain food and fight malnutrition, PlusNews reports. “The program supports about 5,000 patients and their families with essential food items and is operating at seven health facilities in the capital [Harare] and has been extended to the second-largest city, Bulawayo,” the news service writes.
A Lancet editorial responds to the WHO’s sixteenth annual report on global tuberculosis (TB) control, released on Oct 11, which shows that the incidence of tuberculosis has been falling worldwide since 2002, writing, “Successes in disease control in China and other countries show what sustained political and economic support can achieve. Rather than waiting for the elixir of economic success to arrive in all high-burden countries, committed action by donors, agencies, and governments in the most challenging settings is needed in the global campaign against tuberculosis.”
“Treating tuberculosis (TB) and HIV infections at the same time can be a challenge for patients and their doctors, but attacking both diseases early and aggressively isn’t harmful and could save the lives of those who are sickest,” according to a global study led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The study found that patients whose immune systems have been most damaged by HIV were 40 percent less likely to die or develop AIDS if they began antiretroviral treatment (ART) “two weeks after starting TB treatment, instead of waiting eight to 12 weeks, as is commonly done now,” the newspaper writes.
“Thousands of lives and years of gains made against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria could be lost if proportional reductions are made to achieve the $1.2 trillion in spending reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011,” according to a report (.pdf) issued on Monday by the Foundation for AIDS…
“Russia plans to step up its international role in fighting infectious disease across eastern Europe and central Asia, in what some observers see as the latest effort by the Kremlin to reassert its political influence over its former Soviet neighbors,” the Financial Times reports. “Arkady Dvorkovich, economic aide to President Dmitry Medvedev, pledged money for a new international development agency to support programs against HIV and tuberculosis (TB)” at the Millennium Development Goal 6 Forum hosted in Moscow last week, the newspaper notes.
“Vitamin D is needed to activate the immune system’s response to tuberculosis (TB),” a finding that “could lead to new treatments for the lung disease,” researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) said in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, Agence France-Presse reports. “Researchers have long known that vitamin D plays a role in the body’s response to TB, but the study … shows it must be present in adequate levels to trigger the immune response,” AFP writes.
WHO Says Global TB Cases Decline For First Time Ever But Warns Funding Gap, Resistant Strains Put Progress At Risk
New data published in the WHO’s 2011 Global Tuberculosis Control Report on Tuesday, “shows that the number of people who fell ill with [tuberculosis (TB)] dropped to 8.8 million in 2010, after peaking at 9 million in 2005,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The report shows that the TB death rate dropped 40 percent between 1990 and 2010, and all regions, except Africa, are on track to achieve a 50 percent decline in mortality by 2015,” the news service writes (10/11). “The countries the WHO especially noted for progress in the fight against the disease were Kenya, [Tanzania], Brazil and China,” Reuters reports (Selyukh/Ulmer-Nebehay, 10/11).