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Communities ‘must be prepared to accept’ MDA interventions & 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. 


Photo Credit: Andie Tucker for GPZL

Lymphatic filariasis

Communities ‘must be prepared to accept’ MDA interventions

Exemplars in Global Health
To mark the publication of new research on mass drug administration to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, the director of India’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Program, Dr. Neeraj Dhingra, explains how he and his team addressed community fears, and highlights the power of partnerships.

Evaluation of the in vitro susceptibility of various filarial nematodes to emodepside

Marc P. Hübner et al.
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Emodepside causes concentration dependent paralysis on filariae. Findings confirm the broad-spectrum nematicidal profile of emodepside. Data reveal emodepside as a promising drug candidate for human filariasis.

Optimization of a Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay as a Point-of-Care Tool for the Detection of Wuchereria bancrofti

Kinyatta Nancy et al.
Journal of Parasitology Research
In this study, LAMP assays coupled with fluorescence dye detection have been found to be suitable for diagnosis and monitoring of Wuchereria bancrofti infections in the Kenyan population.

Award for neglected tropical disease project

Lancaster University
A project to maintain the elimination of a neglected tropical disease has won a $260,500 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The project is a partnership between Lancaster, Birmingham, and Surrey universities with the goal of developing more efficient sampling strategies, using geospatial statistical methods, for surveillance of lymphatic filariasis infections following elimination.

Lymphatic Filariasis: Ending a Debilitating Scourge

Yao Sodahlon
Global Institute for Disease Elimination
I have been privileged to be part of the success of LF elimination at various levels and in increasing capacities. First as a country programme manager in Togo, where I launched the country’s LF elimination program. I now serve at the global level as director of the Mectizan Donation Program. To witness the evolution of LF elimination has been humbling. However, the work that remains is also humbling.


The burden of skin disease and eye disease due to onchocerciasis in countries formerly under the African Programme ...

Natalie V. S. Vinkeles Melchers et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
MDA has had a remarkable impact on the onchocerciasis burden in countries previously under the APOC mandate. In the few countries where we predict continued transmission between now and 2030, intensified MDA could be combined with local vector control efforts, or the introduction of new drugs for mopping up residual cases of infection and morbidity.

Another Step Forward in Ending River Blindness

Warren Lancaster
The End Fund
But there is a solution to this problem now that could take the endeavor to eliminate river blindness to truly great. Scientists at Berkeley University have invented a handheld scanner called the Loa scope, that can detect eye worms in a blood sample taken on site through a finger prick. . .Using the loa scope as a tool for population surveys we can determine if it is safe to treat large numbers of people in that area.


Association between cervical dysplasia and female genital schistosomiasis diagnosed by genital PCR in Zambian women

H. Rafferty et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
This is the first study to find an association between FGS and positive VIA, a relationship that may be causal. Further longitudinal studies are needed.

Field assessment in Cameroon of a reader of POC-CCA lateral flow strips for the quantification of Schistosoma mansoni ...

Estelle Mezajou Mewamba et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study confirmed the low sensitivity of KK [Kato-Katz] and the high capacity of POC-CCA [non-invasive point of care test] to provide reliable data on the prevalence and intensity of S. mansoni infections. The lateral flow reader enabled accurate quantification of CCA [circulating cathodic antigen] under field conditions on fresh and frozen urine samples with less time and effort than KK.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Efficacy of Mebendazole and Praziquantel against Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Schistosoma mansoni Infections ...

Kefale Ejigu, Tadesse Hailu and Megbaru Alemu
BioMed Research International
The cure and egg reduction rates of single-dose mebendazole in the treatment of hookworm and A. lumbricoides are lower at week two than at redosing, while cure and egg reduction rates of single-dose praziquantel are satisfactory to treat S. mansoni. Therefore, single-dose praziquantel to S. mansoni and redosing of single-dose mebendazole to A. lumbricoides and hookworm infections can be used for treatment purposes.

Structural readiness to implement community-wide mass drug administration programs for soil-transmitted helminth elimination...

Arianna Rubin Means et al.
Implementation Science Communications
Across all countries, stakeholders valued community-wide MDA for STH but had less confidence in their collective ability to effectively implement it. Perceived capacity varied by stakeholder group, highlighting the importance of accounting for multi-level stakeholder perspectives when determining organizational preparedness to launch new public health initiatives.

Functional Characterization of the Oxantel-Sensitive Acetylcholine Receptor from Trichuris muris

Tina V. A. Hansen, Richard K. Grencis, Mohamed Issouf, Cédric Neveu and Claude L. Charvet
These findings confirm that the ACR-16-like nAChR from Trichuris spp. is a preferential drug target for oxantel, and highlights the pharmacological difference between Trichuris species.

Utilization of deworming medication and its associated factors among pregnant married women in 26 sub-Saharan African countries

Betregiorgis Zegeye et al.
Tropical Medicine and Health
Enhancing women’s education, disseminating information about maternal healthcare services through mass media, and ensuring that women from economically disadvantaged households benefit from national economic growth can be considered as deworming medication improvement strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, providing more attention to adolescents or young pregnant women and increasing the number of antenatal care visits could be considered to increase deworming uptake among pregnant married women.

Establishing a controlled hookworm human infection (CHHI) model for Africa: A report from the stakeholders meeting ...

Ayodele Alab et al.
Archives of Public Health
Discussions revolved around the roles of the different regulatory institutions concerned; the need to strengthen existing regulatory capacity and the role of legislation; creating Gabon-specific ethical guidelines to govern Controlled Human Infection (CHI) studies; development of a study protocol; consideration of cultural and social peculiarities; the need for regular joint review meetings between interested parties throughout the process of protocol implementation; and participant compensation. Moreover, operational considerations concerning the introduction of CHHI in Gabon include the use of the local strain of hookworm for the challenge infections, capacity building for the local production of challenge material, and the establishment of adequate quality assurance procedures.


United Nations General Assembly Resolution commits countries to eye care for the world’s 1.1 billion people ...

International Coalition for Trachoma Control
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has today, 23 July 2021, adopted Resolution A/75/L.108 committing the international community to eye care for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030. This includes 1.9 million living with blindness or visual impairment due to trachoma, one of 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). . .The resolution is the first agreement designed to tackle preventable sight loss to be adopted by the United Nations and enshrines eye health as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Effectiveness of an mHealth system on access to eye health services in Kenya: a cluster-randomised controlled trial

Hillary Rono et al.
The Lancet Digital Health
The Peek CEH system increased primary care attendance by people with eye problems compared with standard approaches, indicating the potential of this mobile health package to increase service uptake and guide appropriate task sharing.


Scoping review of Neglected Tropical Disease Interventions and Health Promotion: A framework for successful NTD interventions...

Caroline Ackley, Mohamed Elsheikh and Shahaduz Zaman
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Based on the literature we have identified the four core components of best practices including programmatic interventions, multi sectoral and multi-level interventions, adopting a social and ecological model and clearly defining ‘community.’


Guinea Worm Cases Halved in 2020

The Carter Center
The Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program reported just 27 human cases in six African countries in 2020, a dramatic 50% reduction from 2019. Guinea worm infections in animals also were down 20% from the previous year.

Leprosy Diagnostic Working Group develops 2 target product profiles

Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
By bringing together experts in laboratory science, experts in the clinical aspects of leprosy, and representatives from stakeholder groups in the leprosy community, GPZL’s working group developed two TPPs for consideration. The first TPP describes a diagnostic test used to confirm the diagnosis of leprosy in individuals with clinical signs and symptoms. The second TPP details a diagnostic test to detect Mycobacterium leprae infection among asymptomatic household or familial contacts of leprosy patients to treat them with appropriate prophylactic interventions, like a single dose of the antibiotic rifampicin, and prevent the transmission of leprosy.

iCHORDS' New Website

iCHORDS (Improving Community Health Outcomes through Research, Dialogue and Systems Strengthening) Community of Practice is a platform for communication, collaboration and knowledge exchange within social and behavioural science research disciplines to address implementation gaps and current issues facing Neglected Tropical Disease programs.

Global Warming May Limit Spread Of Dengue Fever

Penn State
Science Blog
The study is the first to show that viral infection can affect mosquito thermal tolerance, which is important given that future climate models point to increasing frequencies of extreme temperature events.

Call for Applications: African Researchers Small Grants Program

Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center
The African Research Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD), is seeking proposals for both operational and implementation research on ‘’Emerging Challenges facing NTD program implementation in Africa.’’ This fifth edition of the Small Grants Program (SGP V) is to support African researchers in both early and mid/late career to undertake operational or implementation research aligned with the goals established in the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Implications of global environmental change for the burden of snakebite

Gerardo Martín et al.
Toxicon: X
Distribution and abundance of snakes are expected to be affected by climate change. Land-use change may also impact snakes but at smaller spatial scales than climate. Human populations could experience novel patterns and morbidity of snakebite. Reducing snakebite should be accompanied by actions that protect snake diversity.

Dealing with snakebite in rural Cameroon: A qualitative investigation among victims and traditional healers

Manon Chuat et al.
Toxicon: X
Antivenom supply in health centers is the number one priority. Roads and means of transportation must be improved to allow access to health centers. Communication between health centers and traditional healers is key to a timely management of snakebite cases. Both victims and traditional healers are expecting improvement in snakebite management.


Lessons from the field: delivering trachoma mass drug administration safely in a COVID-19 context

Juliana A Amanyi-Enegela et al.
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
The results suggest that delivering MDA safely in a COVID-19 context is possible but revealed significant challenges in using the MDA platform for COVID-19 education.

Snakebite incidents, prevention and care during COVID-19: Global key-informant experiences

Jannekevan Oirschota et al.
Toxicon: X
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted snakebite prevention and care in LMICs. Healthcare avoidance and transport barriers have resulted in additional morbidity and mortality Increased ventilator availability could have a positive effect on snakebite care in specific settings. Treatment of snakebites at primary level health facilities can significantly reduce snakebite morbidity and mortality.


NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events. 


Operational Research Results and Recommendations for NTD Programs in the COVID-19 Context
August 25, 2021
COR-NTD and the Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network

Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network
September 7, 2021
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network

World Field Epidemiology Day 
September 7, 2021
Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network

NTD NGO Network Conference 2021
September 7-9, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network

COR-NTD 2021 Virtual Meeting
November 8-10, 2021
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting
November 17-21, 2021
American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases
March 6-9, 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Eliminating Trachoma
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine 

FREE ONLINE COURSE: Neglected tropical diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: impact and guidance
World Health Organization