As the International AIDS Conference kicks off in Durban, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) has released an update on its efforts to develop optimal child-adapted antiretroviral formulations. This document details some recent progress towards its final goal of developing ‘4-in-1’ fixed-dose combinations using the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended treatment regimen for infants and young children. DNDi’s update also discusses some promising developments for treatment for children living with both HIV and tuberculosis (TB).
Manica Balasegaram, Director, Global Antiobiotic Research and Development Partnership
Far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries can kill has become a very real possibility. Of late, media headlines about ‘the end of the road’ for antibiotics have been plentiful. The latest case in May this year to receive a good deal of attention was of a patient in the US found to be carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort.
DNDi and its partner Epichem are pleased to announce that the Australian Tropical Medicine Commercialisation Grants Programme (ATMCG), with the support of Australia’s Trade and Investment Ministry (AusTrade), are providing $250,000 for a project which is focused on developing new treatments for leishmaniasis. The name of the project is: “Novel compounds for the treatment of Leishmaniasis in humans and animals,” which will be led by PharmAust Limited’s (ASX:PAA) subsidiary Epichem in partnership with DNDi.
At the 69th WHA, Member States were asked to consider the outcomes of the Open-Ended Meeting and continue discussions on issues related to monitoring, coordination and financing for health research.
Michelle Childs, DNDi‘s Head of Policy Advocacy, delivered the following statement on behalf of DNDi.
Every Monday morning at a clinic on the dusty outskirts of the Sudanese capital Khartoum, sufferers of one of the world’s most neglected disease flock to the only place in the world that can offer them specialized care and treatment. Patients stream through the gates limping, on crutches, pushed by worried relatives on rusty wheelchairs or carried. Most have bandaged legs, many are amputees.
Access to effective treatment is central in the fight against malaria. The recently published PREGACT study has shown that artemisinin-based combination therapies are effective in pregnant women with malaria in Africa, without the safety concerns of other treatment types. Another success for malaria treatment comes with the World Health Organization’s announcement that the fixed-dose combination of artesunate+mefloquine (ASMQ) shelf-life has been extended from two to three years, which will greatly help with storage and distribution.
Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director, DNDi
The barriers to accessing new hepatitis C treatments are a clear illustration of how today’s system of medical innovation is failing to deliver affordable treatments for people in need. So what should the public health community do to address this complete disconnect between highly successful innovation on the one hand, and unacceptably limited access on the other?
Dr Jorge Alvar, Head of Leishmaniasis, DNDi, and Dr Javier Moreno, Director of WHO Collaborating Center for Leishmaniasis, announce a call for papers on Leishmaniasis for the PLOS WorldLeish-6 Collection. See the PLOS article, calling for papers for the PLOS WorldLeish 6 Collection, as it appeared on the PLOS Blog.
DNDi, Pharco, and the Ministry of Health Malaysia announced today at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that they signed agreements to test an affordable hepatitis C regimen in Malaysia and Thailand. The treatment, a potentially pan-genotypic combination of ravidasvir and sofosbuvir, will be tested in Malaysia and Thailand with a target price of under $300. DNDi also released its hepatitis C R&D Strategy as well as infographics to explain why there are so many neglected hepatitis C patients.
Dr SS Tan and hepatitis C patients Peace James, Rosalyn, and Rashid Bin Hashim speak out about the difficulty to access affordable direct-acting antivirals.
The US Senate became the first national legislature to officially recognize one of the major causes of disability and suffering in the world – lymphedema, a horrifying condition commonly known as elephantiasis. In a unanimous vote on Thursday 3 March, the Senate designated 6 March as the first annual “World Lymphedema Day.”
Just before the end of 2015, the notorious announcement of the acquisition of benznidazole rights in the USA with the intention to apply for the FDA’s Priority Review Voucher (PRV) has generated innumerous debates and certainly has driven worldwide attention to Chagas. This state of affairs, despite all the buzz around KaloBios’s former CEO, has exposed the dramatic treatment access situation regarding the leading parasitic killer of the Americas. Currently, 99% of the estimated patients endure the lack of diagnostic and medical attention according to PAHO recommendations.
Duámaco Escribano is infected with Chagas disease, a parasite borne disease. In the indigenous community to which he belongs, the Koguis – one of the four ethnic groups living in the Sierra Nevada, on the north coast of Colombia – life is not measured in years: it starts with birth and ends with death, however long it may be…
Dr Elsemani Widaa is a surgeon from the Mycetoma Research Centre, Sudan,
which is the country’s treatment reference centre for patients’ suffering from the
disease. He has worked at the Centre for over two years, and even in this short
period of time, he has seen and treated hundreds of patients. The challenges
that doctors face in treating mycetoma are many, the most serious of which problem
is the fact that the only available drug for treating the fungal form of the disease
(eumycetoma) is toxic and ultimately ineffective, but currently, it is all there is.
Graeme Bilbe, Research & Development Director, DNDi
Addressing the lack of patient-adapted treatments for those suffering from neglected diseases is no easy task. DNDi’s initial short-term strategies were designed to quickly provide improved treatments through new formulations or combinations of existing drugs, and/or improved treatment regimens. Six new treatments have been delivered since 2003.
Filarial diseases are caused by parasitic worms of the helminth family. They include onchocerciasis (also known as River Blindness), lymphatic filariasis (also known as elephantiasis), and loiasis (also known as African eye-worm). The worms are transmitted by insect vectors to humans, mainly in Africa and Southeast Asia. About 168 million people are infected by the three diseases.