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Archive for January 18th, 2010

Jan 18 2010

Tobacco use common amongst Malaysians with TB

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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2010 is the Year of the Lung. It is interesting to see such a broad view taken of health conditions that affect the lung, for they are many and various - both infectious and non-infectious.

In many cases different health threats conspire to attack the lungs. The use of tobacco can worsen infectious conditions, for example tuberculosis. Analyses have suggested that a considerable proportion of the global burden of TB may be attributable to smoking. It seems likely that the recovery of patients receiving TB treatment will be held back if they use tobacco.

Surprisingly little is known as to how many TB patients use tobacco. Researchers in Malaysia (1) asked over 800 people receiving TB treatment whether they were users of tobacco. They found that 40% were current users and 14% had used tobacco at some point in their lives. They estimate the prevalence of ever-smoking among patients with TB to be 54,220 per 100,000 population. From conversations with the TB patients the researchers conclude that most of them had “deficiencies in knowledge of tobacco use and its health dangers”.

Efforts to control tuberculosis must clearly include action to discourage smoking.

1. Awaisu A et al. (2010). Tobacco use prevalence, knowledge, and attitudes among newly diagnosed tuberculosis patients in Penang State and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tobacco Induced Diseases; 8:3.

Jan 18 2010

Networks that will boost Africa’s capacity in clinical research

Posted by: Paul Chinnock - Editorial Team

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A Nature Medicine news article discusses the European Clinical Development Partnership (EDCTP) and its recent achievement in contracting four regional networks that will facilitate the conducting of multicentre phase 2 and 3 clinical trials on AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa hosts an increasing number of clinical trials but, for the most part, the continent lacks the basic infrastructure and expertise to conduct trials that meet international standards. EDCTP’s networks are intended to improve the situation by upgrading the quality and capacity of local hospitals and research centres.

EDCTP is a partnership between 47 sub-Saharan African countries and 14 European Union member
states plus Norway and Switzerland. Since its launch in 2003, it has provided over $300 million to fund 45 clinical trials in 21 African countries. The fourth of its regional networks, the southern African group, was contracted in November 2009.

According to Thomas Nyirenda, EDCTP’s networking and capacity development manager in Cape Town, “There are centres that are good here and there, but there’s a lack of critical mass of researchers on the continent. The driving force is to really put a structure in place that will be sustainable”.

Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, the European Commission’s director of health research says it is hoped to extend the trials conducted under the initiative to cover also other more neglected infectious diseases.

EDCTP has also featured in other recent articles on