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Viewpoints

Jean-Rene KiechelJean-René Kiechel, Senior Pharma Advisor & Product Manager, DNDi
The FACT project: a successful approach to solving public health needs
[June 2015]

The beginning of the current millennium saw a radical change in the way malaria was treated. In 2001, in response to rising chloroquine resistance, the WHO recommended replacing this monotherapy with artemisinin-based combination therapies, known as ACTs. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group of the MSF Access Campaign and WHO-TDR came together with other experts and stakeholders from both non-endemic and endemic countries to form the Fixed-Dose Combination Therapies (FACT) consortium in 2002, with projects subsequently transferred to DNDi when it was established in 2003.

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Rafael VilasanjuanRafEric Stobbaertsael Vilasanjuan, ISGlobal and Eric Stobbaerts, DNDi Latin America - members of the Global Chagas Disease Coalition
Chagas Disease in Colombia: An opportunity to lead the way towards change
[April 2015]

During the month that celebrates International Chagas Disease day, Colombia, via its Ministry of Health has confirmed its commitment to the disease, a reason for optimism for the entire region. Aware of the difficulty of access to diagnosis and treatment (less than 1,000 patients treated), an action plan has been proposed to tackle Chagas Disease under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. A model project supported by DNDi and capable of being implemented in other locations arose as an example and brings hope not only to the 437 thousand infected persons and roughly 4.8 million people at risk of being infected in the country, but also for other affected countries.
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Bernard PécoulBernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
Will Crisis See a Long-Awaited Response to Lack of Innovation and Access Come from Public Leadership?
[February 2015]

While the epidemic peak of the Ebola crisis slightly begins to wane and with it potential avenues for treatment beginning to emerge, the global health community simply cannot go back to business as usual. A strong public opinion has been mobilized and with Ebola now a household term, there is simply no turning back. A hard stance is being taken on many fronts, including policy makers, scientists, pharmaceutical companies, philanthropists, civil society members, global health experts, and journalists to ensure that beyond this one crisis, the lessons learned from several hitherto seemingly unrelated public health issues be brought together and examined with the same scrutiny. But we cannot stop there; a comprehensive and lasting solution could be at our doorsteps but requires a serious look at what is not working currently, and what is!

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Dr Bernhards OgutuDr Sodiomon SirimaDr Bernhards Ogutu, KEMRI, Kenya and Dr Sodiomon Sirima, CNRFP, Burkina Faso
Strengthening the Malaria Treatment Arsenal for Children in Africa
[November 2014]

Today, we have results of a large clinical trial conducted in three countries across both East and West Africa by DNDi in partnership with the Central National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme (CNRFP) in Burkina Faso, the Kenya Medical Research Centre (KEMRI) in Kenya, the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), and the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania. ASMQ (artesunate-mefloquine) fixed dose combination (FDC) has proven safe and efficacious in treating children with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Africa, and is non-inferior to artemether-lumefantrine (AL).

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Graeme BilbeDr Graeme Bilbe, Research & Development Director, DNDi
Learning to deliver: Challenges in NTD drug research and development
[September 2014]

DNDi and other not-for-profit drug research and development (R&D) organizations have explored new R&D pathways to develop and deliver safe, adapted, and affordable treatments for neglected diseases. Most of these new pathways have shown signs of success, while several have faced challenges that span across the drug discovery and development processes.

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Wilfried MutomboDr. Wilfried Mutombo, Coordinating investigator, Fexinidazole study for HAT
Conducting clinical trials for sleeping sickness in remote areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo –
Overcoming operational challenges and reaping health system benefits
[July 2014]
At the time DNDi and its partners are extending the clinical trial on fexinidazole, the first new oral treatment tested for sleeping sickness, to the early stages of the disease in adults and to children between 6 and 14 years of age, it is important to remember how clinical trials in remote areas of a country such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can be a daunting challenge, but can also bring lasting benefits to local communities and researchers, and to the health system overall.

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Robert Don Charles MowbrayRobert Don, Discovery & Preclinical Director, and Charles Mowbray, Head of Drug Discovery, DNDi
Modern drug discovery and the fight against NTDs: How can the PDP model enhance and accelerate the R&D process?
[May 2014]
Important advances have been made in recent years to optimize the use of existing medicines to treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) but, while providing urgently needed improvements on previous treatments, they are often still not ideal. There remains an urgent need to design and develop modern drugs to treat these diseases.

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Sylvia GoldSilvia Gold, President, Mundo Sano Foundation
Global Alliance for the Treatment of Chagas Disease: Thinking About the Patients
[April 2014]
American Trypanosomiasis, more commonly known as Chagas disease, no longer reflects the geographical scope of the disease. Today, Chagas disease affects people around the world. It is hard to imagine that a disease, discovered over a century ago, which today can be easily diagnosed and for which effective treatment exists, continues to be a problem of severe health impact.

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Bernard Pécoul Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
Time for a Reality Check for Neglected Diseases
[February 2014]

The field of neglected disease R&D today is experiencing what could be characterized as a phase of shifting sands: after long inaction for decades, we are now experiencing both remarkable advances and rude set-backs. The innovative ideas, incentives, and R&D partnerships, such as DNDi, that emerged over the last decade are right at the nexus of these movements – of governments, industry, philanthropy, and civil society, among others – and they thus impact directly on our work. They provide a constant reality check that reminds us of just how fragile the field of not-for-profit drug development for neglected diseases is, be it in times of advances or in times of set-backs. We have to take this seriously into account and feed our reflections, debates, and efforts to secure the sustainability of the environment in which we work to solve, in the long term, the problems of millions of patients.

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Jean-François AlesandriniJean-François Alesandrini, Fundraising & Advocacy Director
WHO R&D ‘Demonstration Projects’: A Member State-driven step towards a sustainable global framework for neglected disease R&D
[November 2013]
WHO Member States and experts, after weeks of consultations, are in the process of selecting ‘demonstration projects’ to address the unmet medical needs of developing countries. The overall objective of this process is to evaluate and assess new innovative mechanisms to coordinate and fund public health research and development (R&D).

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