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Archive for January 7th, 2010

Jan 07 2010

Late presentation of TB: Liberian programme encourages patients to seek treatment sooner

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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It is common for patients with tuberculosis not to seek treatment until quite late in the progress of their condition. This is particularly the case in developing countries, where access to health care is often limited. Finding ways to improve treatment seeking behaviour has long been recognised as a priority.

Progress achieved in Liberia in recent years therefore comes as welcome news. Government and NGO awareness campaigns have taken place in the capital Monrovia and surrounding areas, encouraging sufferers to come forward for treatment. So-called “TB hubs” have als been set up throughout the capital to encourage people with consistent coughing to be tested. One of the aims of the awareness programme is to overcome the widespread belief in Liberia that TB is fatal and incurable. As a result, there have been increases in the number of people receiving treatment.

But beyond the capital less progress has been made. Solomon Addison, TB project coordinator with the International Committee of the Red Cross says, “We are still seeing very low caseloads in smaller towns, which we do not think necessarily reflects the [real number of infections]. We need to expand our treatment and our [education campaigns] there”.

Further details on IRIN News.

Jan 07 2010

Gates funding will support clinical product development of malaria vaccine

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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The Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) says it has been awarded $9.85 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for clinical development of a transmission blocking vaccine to combat malaria.

Fraunhofer USA CMB, a division of Fraunhofer USA, Inc., is a not-for-profit research organization which seeks to develop safe and effective vaccines targeting infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. Dr Vidadi Yusibov, CMB’s Executive Director, says, “We are looking forward to beginning clinical product development following up on the exciting pre-clinical results we have achieved to date”.

The award has also been welcomed by Dr.Philip Russell of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, who commented, “The technology has the potential to provide the capacity and cost effectiveness required to deal with the health and economic problems caused by malaria in developing countries”.

Further details are available in a Fraunhofer USA CMB press release.

Jan 07 2010

Neglected tropical diseases featured in Lancet

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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Recent months have seen an increasing level of interest in the infectious diseases of poverty, including those that have till now been the most neglected - for example, filarial diseases, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. The Lancet is one publication that has increased the coverage it devotes to such conditions. The journal has just begun a new series of articles on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

The first of four papers reviews elimination and control programmes. Subsequent papers will describe the integration, mapping, and financing of international control initiatives. The series is introduced by a commentary article from David Molyneux of the Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, who is well known as an active campaigner for action against NTDs to be stepped up. A podcast and a profile of Professor Molyneux also form part of the series.

The Lancet is not an open-access journal. However, as with many of its articles on global health topics, the series may be viewed freely online. (Registration is required.)