IHP news 522: infectious diseases & NTDs

By on May 17, 2019

Devex – PEPFAR funding: Taking stock of the latest changes


(gated)  “As the largest and most impactful global health initiative ever undertaken, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is credited with saving millions of lives and changing the trajectory of the global HIV epidemic. Since its creation in 2003, PEPFAR has set aside more than $80 billion for HIV bilateral programs across the globe… By comparison, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has disbursed close to $20 billion for HIV/AIDS since 2002 — a total that includes contributions from PEPFAR….”

Xinhua – New technology enables large-scale production of artemisinin for malaria


Chinese researchers have developed a new technology to produce artemisinin, the top choice for malaria treatment, on a large scale. Sweet wormwood was used in ancient Chinese therapy to treat various illnesses, including fevers typical of malaria. Nearly five decades ago, Chinese scientists identified its active ingredient, artemisinin. … … According to researchers from the Institute of Process Engineering (IPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences, due to its complex structure, artemisinin is currently difficult and not economically feasible to chemically synthesize. The traditional industrial method to produce artemisinin is to treat sweet wormwood leaves with organic solvents like petroleum ether. The extraction process is long, energy consumption is high and productivity is low. In the study, the IPE researchers proposed to enhance the contact between the solvent and the leaves by reflux to speed up the artemisinin extraction. The extraction time was reduced from seven hours to four and a half hours….”

NEJM (Perspective) – Collateral Benefits of Preventive Chemotherapy — Expanding the War on Neglected Tropical Diseases

P Hotez et al; https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1900400

The collateral and extended effects of preventive chemotherapy, many of which were unanticipated, have reduced disease burdens and saved lives on a scale that appears to have exceeded the intended impact on seven neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) — the three major soil-transmitted helminth infections (ascariasis, trichuriasis, and hookworm infection), schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and trachoma…. … … Expanding these interventions would cost-effectively increase years of healthy life for people in the affected regions. …”

Cidrap News – Study highlights caregiver risk, respiratory role in Nipah

Cidrap News;

News from late last week: “A new study based on 14 years of Nipah virus infections in Bangladesh—the country hit hardest by the disease—revealed an elevated risk to caregivers, the role of respiratory secretions, and other new clues about what fuels transmission among humans, findings that could help control future outbreaks. An international group of researchers published its findings [today] in the New England Journal of Medicine….”

Nature (Q & A)- How a Nigerian biochemist hopes to stop the spread of sleeping-sickness disease


Emmanuel Balogun aims to develop drugs to wipe out trypanosomiasis in humans and animals across the African continent.”

Quick link:

IHPTrachoma in Australia: environmental improvement needed for long-term elimination

By Liam Kelly Mc Bride. Well worth a read, focusing on indigenous people in Australia.


Forbes – Building New Models To Support The Ailing Antibiotics Market


Update on BARDA & AMR. By Rick Bright, director of BARDA (a component of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Excerpt: “…Since 2010, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has been a leader in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, providing scientific, technical and financial support of over $1.1 billion. Thereby, BARDA has established a robust portfolio of public-private partnerships focused on the development of 14 novel, small molecule candidates. This commitment has advanced nine new antibiotics into Phase 3 clinical development, three of which, VABOMERE, ZEMDRI, and XERAVA have received FDA approval. Recently, BARDA expanded its portfolio to include antimicrobial medical countermeasures via the CARB-X initiative. Funded by government agencies from the U.S., United Kingdom, and Germany as well as non-governmental organizations, particularly Wellcome Trust, CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership of its kind. It provides financial, technical, and business support to generate a pipeline of antimicrobial candidates, including antibiotics, vaccines, and diagnostics. BARDA has awarded $140 million toward CARB-X projects in the partnership’s first three years. The portfolio currently includes 35 candidates, including 13 new classes of antibiotics, 11 non-traditional antimicrobial approaches, five diagnostics, and one vaccine. This portfolio could expand to over 50 novel, clinically important programs by the end of 2019….”

“…However, the Achaogen story exposes the limited impact that current strategies have on addressing institutional barriers to successful development and commercialization of critically needed antibiotics. This emerging scenario is not unique to Achaogen. Similarly, there has been a collapse of market value for other late-stage development companies such as Paratek, Melinta, and Tetraphase. Now is the time to build new business models and novel partnerships that foster a robust end-to-end enterprise, making critically needed antimicrobials available to patients….”


And a few quick links:


Isabelle Holdaway, age 15, was out of options. After undergoing a lung transplant necessitated by her cystic fibrosis, she’d gotten an infection that wasn’t responding to antibiotics. … …But today, just a few months later, she’s doing much better — thanks, apparently, to a virus scraped from the bottom of a rotten eggplant in soil teeming with worms. Holdaway, who lives in London, was treated with an experimental “phage therapy,” devised by her local doctors and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Phages — viruses that infect and kill specific bacteria — are often found in really dirty places. Ditches. Ponds. Sewage….”

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