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£220 Million in UK aid Support for NTD Programs Announced & Other NTD News

News roundup

This news roundup is a collection of headlines and other items on neglected tropical diseases, and does not reflect the work or the views of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.  

DFID announcement at NNN

A new UK aid programme will fight diseases in 25 of the world’s poorest countries. Support will target five Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which cause disability and death. Baroness Sugg announced the programme at a speech at the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network Conference in Liverpool.

Lymphatic filariasis

An astonishing victory in Yemen

Jonathan Gornall
Asia Times
Last month, victory was declared in a war that Yemen has been fighting against a brutal enemy for the past two decades. But in the wider world, the triumph passed almost unnoticed. Since 2011, the attention of the world’s media has been focused exclusively on the struggle between Yemen’s government and the Houthi rebel insurgency.

Molecular evolution of single chain fragment variable (scFv) for diagnosis of lymphatic filariasis

Natarajan Mahalakshmi et al.
Molecular Biology Reports
Molecular cloning of scFv for recombinant expression has laid a platform for developing novel genetic constructs with enhanced reactivity. In this study, a simple procedure is developed to create diverse libraries of scFv based on a single DNA framework with all the requisites for an in vitro protein synthesis and ribosomal display.

Wuchereria bancrofti infection is linked to systemic activation of CD4 and CD8 T cells

Inge Kroidl et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
The importance of CD4 T cell activation for HIV susceptibility has been emphasized in several studies focusing on HIV transmission and prevention. Particularly, activated HLA-DR+ CD4 T cells may play a major role in HIV susceptibility. In this analysis we describe systemic activation of CD4 T cells in individuals infected with W. bancrofti the causative agent of lymphatic filariasis.


Anti-Wolbachia therapy for onchocerciasis & lymphatic filariasis: Current perspectives

Wan Aliaa Wan Sulaiman et al.
Indian Journal of Medical Research
Doxycycline shows potential as an anti-Wolbachia treatment, leading to the death of adult parasitic worms. It is readily available, cheap and safe to use in adult non-pregnant patients. Besides doxycycline, several other potential antibiotics are also being investigated for the treatment of LF and onchocerciasis. This review aims to discuss and summarise recent developments in the use of anti-Wolbachia drugs to treat onchocerciasis and LF.


Reconciling disease risk with livelihood needs in high schistosomiasis transmission settings

Christina Faust
Today, we will be highlighting a recent paper that aimed to explore how humans respond to the disease and alter their own behaviours in a hyperendemic schistosomiasis setting. The study conducted by Lund and colleagues took place within a larger schistosomiasis study on socioeconomic drivers of schistosomiasis across 16 villages in Senegal.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Pooling as a strategy for the timely diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminths in stool: value and reproducibility

Marina Papaiakovou et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Our results suggest that the pooling protocol developed herein is a robust and efficient strategy for the detection of STHs in ‘pools-of-five’. There is notable complexity of the pool preparation to ensure even distribution of helminth DNA throughout. Therefore, at a given setting, cost of labour among other logistical and epidemiological factors, is the more concerning and determining factor when choosing pooling strategies, rather than losing sensitivity and/or specificity of the molecular assay or the method.


Safe mass drug administration and trachoma elimination

David Addiss, Virginia Sarah, Nebiyu Negussu and Paul Emerson
Community Eye Health Journal
For the past decade, NTD programmes have focused on increasing the number of people treated. Since 2016, more than 1 billion people a year receive treatment through MDA for the NTDs that affect their communities. However, global health programmes have an obligation not only to provide benefits to populations, but also to minimise harm to individuals. Although MDA medicines are pharmacologically safe, young children have died after choking on tablets for NTDs. The available, but limited, evidence suggests that forcing children to swallow tablets against their will is the main risk factor.

Egypt: 1st mass drug administration for trachoma

Outbreak News Today
Antibiotics to treat the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness have been delivered to nearly 300,000 people in Egypt. It was the first mass drug administration (MDA) of its kind in the country for trachoma and is crucial in preventing children and adults from going needlessly blind. It was delivered by the ministry of health and district level governates, with other organisations such as Sightsavers and other NGOs playing a vital role in distribution and facilitating its success.


New UK aid support to protect 200 million people from debilitating diseases

Department for International Development and Baroness Sugg CBE
A new UK aid programme will fight diseases in 25 of the world’s poorest countries. Support will target five Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which cause disability and death. Baroness Sugg announced the programme at a speech at the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network Conference in Liverpool. International Development Minister Baroness Sugg said: "These debilitating – but preventable – diseases stop sufferers from working, studying and leading prosperous, healthy lives.This new UK aid support will stop hundreds of millions of people suffering unnecessarily from treatable conditions. It shows how the UK is helping to lead the way in tackling deadly global diseases more generally, including polio and malaria."

The ENVISION Impact: A Story of USAID Investment in Neglected Tropical Diseases

Lisa Rotondo
RTI International
In 2011, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched ENVISION, a global flagship initiative to help endemic countries fight NTDs and tapped RTI International to lead the project. It was a bold endeavor at the time. Yes, ENVISION would carry forward NTD-fighting work that the U.S. had started back in 2006. But it would also take a bigger leap: ENVISION would grow to support 19 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean to not just fight NTDs, but to back country-driven goals to control or even eliminate them. Since then, we haven’t looked back.

The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection

Edited by Professor Molyneux of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, a series of multimedia lectures exploring the latest research and interventions in this field has been published by Henry Stewart Talks. The series is available without charge to medical schools, universities, research institutes, pharma / biotech companies, hospitals, health ministries, international agencies and development organizations.

IncoNTD: A Unique Opportunity for Stakeholders

John Amuasi
An international conference on NTDs in Africa provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders whose work has focussed on NTDs in Africa, to come together under one forum to share their work and ideas ranging from discovery of new compounds that could be developed into drugs, to innovative NTD control and elimination initiatives in an organized fashion. IncoNTD provides a unique opportunity for Africa-focussed NTD stakeholders to network and update each other on their work. This conference will have scientific and business components, and can also be used as a prime face-to-face meeting ground for various funders and other stakeholders involved in NTDs.


Tracing travelers' typhoid to get an early warning of emerging threats

Australian National University
Medical Xpress
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi causes more than 20 million cases of typhoid fever each year, and disproportionately infects children in low and middle income countries. Now, in a paper published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers demonstrate how routine data collected by Public Health England (PHE) can be used to gain insight into the genomics of S. Typhi in countries around the world, providing an early warning system for emerging threats such as antibiotic resistance and disease outbreaks abroad.

There's a way for modern medicine to cure diseases even when the treatments aren't profitable

James Leahy
The continued support by government agencies, private donors and nonprofits of these ventures could prove paramount to the survival of the human species. While their continued funding is clearly needed to provide these critical medicines, all of us are fortunate to have organizations such as this working for the betterment of mankind.

Our World Before and After Vaccines

Glenn Ellis
Seattle Medium
According to data from the CDC, “at the beginning of the 20th century, infectious diseases were widely prevalent in the United States and exacted an enormous toll on the population. For example, in 1900, 21,064 smallpox cases were reported, and 894 patients died. In 1920, 469,924 measles cases were reported, and 7575 patients died; 147,991 diphtheria cases were reported, and 13,170 patients died. In 1922, 107,473 pertussis cases were reported, and 5099 patients died.” Keep in mind that in 1900, the leading cause of death was infections, in large part due to the lack of public sanitation and hygiene. As infectious disease continued to spread during this period, few effective treatment and preventive measures existed. Thus, the death rates from infectious diseases continued to skyrocket.

Upcoming Events

Celebrating U.S. Leadership in Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases
September 18, Washington, DC
As a result of the incredible partnership between Congress, multiple Administrations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, tremendous progress has been made to eliminate neglected tropical diseases. . . Join us in celebrating this highly successful effort, which is a powerful example of how U.S. foreign assistance can support countries on their journey to self-reliance.

6th International Symposium on One Health Research
September 18-19, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
An opportunity for foreign scientists to interact closely with high-ranking Mongolian leaders who specialize in human and animal research leading to numerous research collaborations and discoveries.

Achieving UHC: A Sustainable Future for Africa
September 23, New York, NY
This UHC Conference will feature Heads of State, African Union leaders, Ministers and youth leaders from across Africa who will discuss how to best leverage high-level political leadership to achieve UHC for Africa. UHC strategies place the most vulnerable at the center of the health system, ensuring that they have access to the fundamental conditions of human health together with access to quality care in their communities. This conference will spotlight successful efforts, identify synergies within and outside the health community, and promote effective solutions to achieve a sustainable and healthy future for all. Do not miss this unique opportunity.

World Rabies Day
September 28
September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about rabies and bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. World Rabies Day is observed in many countries, including the United States.

East African Research in Progress 2019
September 26-28, Moshi, Tanzania
This is the third year we are running the East African Research in Progress meeting (EARIP) in association with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. This meeting is designed specifically for early career investigators to present their unpublished research in progress to peers and senior experts in all fields of tropical medicine and global health.

World Sight Day
October 10
World Sight Day—the most important advocacy and communications day in the eye health calendar—is on 10 October 2019. When was the last time you got an eye exam? Your family, friends and colleagues? This World Sight Day, let’s pledge to take an eye exam—and encourage others to do the same! We have the data and evidence. We also have projections into the future–an ageing world population, myopia and diabetic retinopathy are set to increase vision impairment in the coming decades.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, Ann Arbor, MI
The conference is supported by several University of Michigan departments, as well as the journal World Development. It will cover a suite of key themes related tosustainability and development, but broadly focuses on the many global efforts to realize the SDGs and to assess the outcomes of SDG interventions.

Sustainability & Development Conference
October 11-14, Ann Arbor, MI
The conference is supported by several University of Michigan departments, as well as the journal World Development. It will cover a suite of key themes related tosustainability and development, but broadly focuses on the many global efforts to realize the SDGs and to assess the outcomes of SDG interventions.

Triangle Global Health Annual Conference
October 16, Durham, NC
Join us for the 2019 Triangle Global Health Annual Conference on October 16 in Durham, North Carolina! Our 2019 theme is One Health: Creating our Shared Future. The program sessions will include a mix of speakers, panels, workshops, and poster sessions which showcase current One Health best practices and encourage attendees and presenters to engage around key issues impacting human, animal, and environmental health across a spectrum of application areas.  

The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century
October 28 - November 1, Atlanta, GA
The 10th TEPHINET Global Scientific Conference (with the theme, "The Global FETP Enterprise: Applied Epidemiology in the 21st Century") is a can’t-miss event that will give attendees an opportunity to engage with key players at the forefront of these various efforts, as we work together to shape our way forward.

ASTMH 68th Annual Meeting
November 20-24, National Harbor, Maryland
The ASTMH Annual Meeting draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, government, non-profits, philanthropy, NGOs, industry, military and private practice. The meeting is designed for researchers, professors, government and public health officials, military personnel, travel clinic physicians, practicing physicians in tropical medicine, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health. 

Epidemics7: International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics
December 3-6, Charleston, SC
Join us for the Seventh International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics to share another three days of intense dialogue on our ideas, data, insight, models and methods. This conference regularly attracts over 400 scientists, with representatives from many of the major research groups in this area worldwide. If you want to meet many of your peers in this field, this is the place to go. 

International Conference on NTDs in Africa (IncoNTD)
December 4-6, Nairobi, Kenya
The 1st  International Conference on NTDs (IncoNTD) in Africa seeks to bring together national and international stakeholders involved in the control and elimination of NTDs. IncoNTD is jointly organized by the African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD), the Kenya Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya from December 4 – 6, 2019. 

11th IAPB General Assembly
October 12-14, 2020, Singapore
The General Assembly will mark the end of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight period. It will present a great opportunity to take stock, celebrate successes and make plans for the future. A key focus will be on the WHO’s World Report on Vision and its framework for the future. The event will have three co-chairs leading on three streams: “Excellence”, “Eye Health in the West Pacific” and “Sustainability”. 

Expo 2020 Dubai: Global Best Practice Programme
October 20 2020 - April 10, 2021
Expo 2020 Dubai’s platform to showcase projects that have provided tangible solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It will highlight simple but effective initiatives, which localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can be adapted, replicated, and scaled to achieve an enhanced global impact.