Zika diagnostic test granted market authorization by FDA
A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Using an antibody as well as other components to detect anti-Zika antibodies in the blood of people recently infected with the virus, the test can detect signs of Zika infection in serum samples within 12 weeks of infection. The test is not meant to be used as a stand-alone proof of infection. The FDA recommends that the test be used only for people with symptoms of recent infection, as well as a history of living in or traveling to geographic regions where Zika circulates. Positive results should be confirmed in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A new generation of anti-malarial drugs
Although artemisinin-based drug combinations are available to treat malaria, reports from Southeast Asia of treatment failures are raising concerns about drug resistance spreading to Africa. Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon because there are several new antimalarial drug candidates undergoing clinical testing as well as other promising drug targets that are under investigation.
Tuberculosis mutation discovery paves way for better treatments
A Rutgers New Jersey Medical School study has found a genetically tractable cause of drug tolerant tuberculosis, paving the way for researchers to develop new drugs to combat the global TB epidemic and cure the disease. This new research study reveals that reversible mutations in the M.tuberculosis glpK gene, a gene responsible for an important metabolic pathway, produce a reversible form of tolerance to most of the first-line drugs used to treat TB.
Vaccine Misinformation: Statement by WHO Director-General on Facebook and Instagram
The World Health Organization welcomes the commitment by Facebook to ensure that users find facts about vaccines across Instagram, Facebook Search, Groups, Pages and forums where people seek out information and advice. Facebook will direct millions of its users to WHO’s accurate and reliable vaccine information in several languages, to ensure that vital health messages reach people who need them the most. Vaccine misinformation is a major threat to global health that could reverse decades of progress made in tackling preventable diseases.
Cross-border collaboration crucial for malaria elimination
Bhutan aims for malaria elimination (zero incidence of indigenous malaria) by next year. If Bhutan maintains this status for three consecutive years, the country would achieve the malaria-free status by 2023. In an effort to achieve the target, a two-day meeting on cross-border malaria elimination is underway in Gelephu. Chief Programme officer with the Communicable Disease Division of the Department of Public Health, Rixin Jamtsho, said that cross border malaria posed a considerable threat for malaria elimination, prevention and control of re-emergence of malaria.
Protecting the world from infectious disease threats: now or never
Cyrus Shahpar et al.,
For the first time, the world now has a clear picture of how prepared countries are for this potentially catastrophic event. When the international evaluation team left Haiti in July 2019, one hundred countries had completed a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of health emergency readiness. The first 100 JEEs lead to three overarching conclusions. First, no country is fully prepared to manage disease epidemics. Second, the number of preparedness gaps, and the resulting to-do list of actions to take to fill them, is overwhelming: more than 7000 priority tasks await action. Third, JEEs have diagnosed preparedness gaps well, but few of these gaps have been filled. Disease outbreaks are both lethal and costly. During 1997–2009, economic losses from six major outbreaks averaged $6.7 billion per year, and the cost of the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic alone is estimated at $53 billion. Unfortunately, preparedness, although more effective and less costly than response, rarely ranks high on political agendas. Stepping up preparedness is difficult, and requires that many incremental activities be done to achieve meaningful change. This is nearly impossible without prioritisation, and countries need coherent guidance and practical tools to identify where to begin. Donors and governments often prefer tangible and highly visible support, such as building Emergency Operations Centers, without means to support ongoing operational costs and human resource requirements. Strengthening management, improving technical expertise and advocating for increased long-term domestic financing should be a part of every engagement. Leadership and management skills are essential to planning and implementation, but their development is often eclipsed by a focus on more ‘technical’ skills. Health cannot be protected by Ministries of Health alone. Many sectors need to be involved in order to increase and sustain investment, build long-term capacity and implement policies affecting health in the food, security and animal sectors. In many countries, the JEE was the first opportunity for these sectors to work together.
Medicines for Malaria Venture e-news
Medicines for Malaria Venture e-news
WHO Director-General Statement on the Role of Social Media Platforms in Health Information
Misinformation about vaccines is as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread. The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes Pinterest’s leadership in protecting public health by only providing evidence-based information about vaccines to its users. We hope to see other social media platforms around the world following Pinterest’s lead. Social media platforms are the way many people get their information and they will likely be major sources of information for the next generations of parents. We see this as a critical issue and one that needs our collective effort to protect people’s health and lives. The truth is, vaccines work. Smallpox has been eradicated thanks to vaccines, and vaccines have brought us to the brink of eradicating polio. Rates of many other diseases including measles have been dramatically reduced thanks to the life-saving power of vaccines.
Research gap analysis on African swine fever
The most significant knowledge gaps in the prevention and control of African swine fever (ASF) were identified by the EU Veterinary services and other stakeholders involved in pig production and wild boar management through an online survey. The respondents were asked to identify the major research needs in order to improve short-term ASF risk management. Four major gaps were identified: ‘wild boar’,‘African swine fever virus (ASFV) survival and transmission’, ‘biosecurity’ and ‘surveillance’. In particular, the respondents stressed the need for better knowledge on wild boar management and surveillance, and improved knowledge on the possible mechanism for spread and persistence of ASF in wild boar populations.
Estimating the health impact of vaccination against 10 pathogens in 98 low and middle income countries from 2000 to 2030
Via JHCHS - Xiang Li et al.,
The last two decades have seen substantial expansion of childhood vaccination programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Here we quantify the health impact of these programmes by estimating the deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted by vaccination with ten antigens in 98 LMICs between 2000 and 2030.