River Blindness or onchocerciasis is caused by the prelarval (microfilaria) and adult stages of the filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus. The disease is transmitted by the bite of certain species of female Simulium flies (black flies) that bite by day and are found near rapidly flowing rivers and streams. Onchocerciasis is endemic in more than 25 nations located in a broad band across the central part of Africa. Small endemic foci are also present in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen) and in the Americas (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, southern Mexico, and Venezuela)
Global health consultant Alanna Shaikh writes in this post on the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases' "End the Neglect" blog about the elimination of river blindness, or onchoceriasis, from Colombia and progress made against the disease in Mexico and Guatemala.
In this "End the Neglect" blog post, Alan Fenwick, director of the Schistosomaisis Control Initiative and professor of Tropical Parasitology at Imperial College in London, examines Burundi's progress in combating neglected tropical diseases.
In this End the Neglect blog post, Linda Diep, communications and grassroots assistant with the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, discusses how "mapping of Loa Loa Filariasis could help in the innovation of new strategies to eliminate and control onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis (LF), according to a recently released article from the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases."
In a study sponsored by Topaz Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, scientists from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst presented data showing that a 0.5% ivermectin (IVM) cream formulation was active against lice eggs from permethrin resistant head lice.
With the help of another $2 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers are moving closer to setting up human clinical trials for a reformulated drug that could be the linchpin of treatment efforts against two debilitating tropical diseases.
Ivermectin - an inexpensive, common medication already being used in Africa to treat roundworms that cause river blindness and parasites that cause elephantitis - could also be used to kill mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites, potentially "provid[ing] another useful weapon in the armory against a disease that kills around 800,000 a year, most of them small children and pregnant women," the Guardian's "Global Health Blog" reports (Boseley, 7/6).
A cheap, common heartworm medication that is already being used to fight other parasites in Africa could also dramatically interrupt transmission of malaria, potentially providing an inexpensive tool to fight a disease that kills almost 800,000 people each year, according to a new study published in the July edition of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Rinderpest, German for cattle plague, has finally met its match and does not exist anymore. It is the first animal disease to be eradicated and only the second disease ever, after smallpox in 1980. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared Tuesday that the world was rid of Rinderpest.
Topaz Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for filing the New Drug Application (NDA) for the use of ivermectin topical cream as a treatment for head lice infestations in children and adults.
GlobalPost has published two articles on President Barack Obama's Global Health Initiative. "In a series of reports over the coming months from Washington and in capitals around the world, GlobalPost will examine the behind-the-scenes decisions in the Obama administration as well as what diplomats and health experts are doing now in several countries to try to bring to life this new, but what some say is a stumbling approach in global health," the publication writes.
Anacor Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has entered into a development agreement with Medicines for Malaria Venture to develop Anacor's compound AN3661 for the treatment of malaria.
Anacor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ANAC) and the Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH) today announced the establishment of a joint research agreement to discover antibacterial compounds for treating shigellosis.
McGill University and McGill University scientist Dr. Timothy Geary received a $1-million grant today for landmark research into addressing parasitic diseases through medicines derived from African biodiversity.
The team found that a bacterium inside the worm acts as a 'disguise' for the parasite, resulting in the immune system reacting to it in an ineffective way. The bacteria protect the worm from the body's natural defences, but once the bacteria are removed with antibiotics, the immune system responds appropriately, releasing cells, called eosinophils, that kill the worm.
New York Times contributing writer Tina Rosen, on the newspaper's "Opinionator" blog, examines the success of a system known as kangaroo care, which has helped to improve the survival rates of premature infants by using skin-to-skin contact with mothers in place of incubators in low-resource settings. The post notes the potential value of such a strategy in poor countries "where pregnant women are unlikely to get the food and care they need," and "low birth weight babies are very common."
A three-day meeting of the WHO African Program for Onchocerciasis (River blindness) Control (WHO/APOC) opened in Abuja, Nigeria, on Tuesday, PANA/Afrique en ligne reports (12/8).
Anacor Pharmaceuticals, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Sandler Center and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute (LFKRI) of the New York Blood Center (NYBC) today announced the establishment of a research and development collaboration to discover new drug therapies for the treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis), a parasitic disease that is the second leading cause of infectious blindness worldwide, and is most prevalent in Africa.
Drugmakers are now working on over 100 R&D projects designed to tackle diseases of the developing world and almost 80% of them are being carried out with non-industry partners, according to a report released on Wednesday by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).
Public health officials at the 20th Inter-American Conference on Onchocerciasis in Antigua, Guatemala, confirmed that more than one-third of all Latin Americans who ran the risk of contracting river blindness (onchocerciasis), a leading cause of preventable blindness, are no longer at risk.
In a major breakthrough that comes after decades of research and nearly half a billion treatments in humans, scientists have finally unlocked how a key anti-parasitic drug kills the worms brought on by the filarial diseases river blindness and elephantitis.