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New Guidance and Research on Genetically Modified Mosquitoes & 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. 

During their visit, the team collected groups of mosquitoes to be analyzed for evidence of the parasite that causes lymphatic filariasis. From the samples collected during their trip to the research sites, the team examines mosquitoes under a microscope to conduct molecular xenomonitoring, the process of looking for parasitic infections within insect vectors as a part of their research.

Photo Credit: Sammy Njenga, Kenya Medical Research Institute

 

Lymphatic filariasis

Optimized CRISPR tools and site-directed transgenesis towards gene drive development in Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes

Xuechun Feng et al.
Nature Communications
We show that gRNA scaffold variants improve transgenesis efficiency in both Culex quinquefasciatus and Drosophila melanogaster and boost gene-drive performance in the fruit fly. These findings support future technology development to control Culex mosquitoes and provide valuable insight for improving these tools in other species.

Listen: Join a Research Trip to Lamu, Kenya

The Task Force for Global Health
A research team from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) traveled to Lamu, an island in the Lamu Archipelago off the coast of Kenya, in 2020 to assess the impact of a breakthrough drug approach – triple drug therapy that includes ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole (IDA) – to help accelerate the elimination of lymphatic filariasis. Left untreated, lymphatic filariasis, a neglected tropical disease (NTD), can lead to debilitating swelling of the limbs and scrotum. Kenya is one of the first countries to introduce this new triple drug therapy.

Onchocerciasis

Moxidectin for accelerating onchocerciasis elimination

EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union
On Twitter: "Medicines Development for Global Health is pleased to announce treatment of first enrollees in 3 key clinical trials of #moxidectin in #onchocerciasis co-funded by @EDCTP: repeat dose implementation study; single-dose implementation safety study; pediatric dose-finding study #endNTDs." From the article: "A paediatric dose-finding study, two phase 3b trials comparing efficacy and safety of single or annual and biannual moxidectin or ivermectin treatment and mathematical modelling of moxidectin and ivermectin based elimination strategies to support country policy decisions on the adoption of moxidectin-based treatment strategies for onchocerciasis control and elimination." Read more about the study in this article.

Schistosomiasis

Male Genital Schistosomiasis Along the Shoreline of Lake Malawi: Baseline Prevalence and Associated Knowledge, Attitudes ...

Sekeleghe A. Kayuni et al.
Frontiers in Public Health
In conclusion, MGS is prevalent among local fishermen yet knowledge of the disease is poor. We therefore call for improved availability and accessibility to MGS diagnostics, PZQ treatment within ongoing control interventions. This will improve the lives and reproductive health of men, their partners and communities in this shoreline environment of Lake Malawi.

Persistent Colonic Schistosomiasis Among Symptomatic Rural Inhabitants in the Egyptian Nile Delta

Mohamed Hussien Ahmed et al.
Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases
Colonic schistosomiasis still [is prevalent among symptomatic] rural inhabitants of the Egyptian Nile Delta at a rate of 12.4%.

Spatial expression pattern of serine proteases in the blood fluke Schistosoma mansoni determined by fluorescence RNA in situ ...

Lenka Ulrychová et al.
Parasites & Vectors
The FISH-based assay provided spatial information about the expression of five SmSPs in adult S. mansoni females and males. This highly sensitive method allowed visualization of low-abundantly expressed genes that are below the detection limits of standard in situ hybridization or by RNA sequencing.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Hand hygiene intervention to optimise [STH] infection control among primary school children found to be not effective

Bipandeep Abbat and Alex Chan
2-minute Medicine Physician Press
Thus, the study concluded that the intervention had a significant effect on improving handwashing amongst children at school. However, there was no difference noted between the groups in terms of handwashing at home. The study predicted that this was likely the primary reason for a lack of difference in infection rates amongst the group, along with other possibilities such as contaminated food and water. Therefore, it provides direction for future studies to focus on evaluating the effectiveness of these factors to reduce infection rates.

Lagos Commences Mass Deworming of School-Age Children

Ayomide Oyewole
Lagos Television (Nigeria)
“Previously, there have been small-scale deworming activities in the State against STH and Schistosomiasis. However, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health and our supporting partner, Evidence Action, we have set out plans to implement a Statewide deworming treatment for all enrolled and unenrolled school-age children, who are at risk, using a coordinated approach called School-Based Deworming Mass Administration of Medicines."

Association between water and sanitation and soil-transmitted helminthiases: Analysis of the Brazilian National Survey ...

Kasandra Isabella Helouise Mingoti Poague, Sueli Aparecida Mingoti and Léo Heller
Archives of Public Health
Our findings support that WASH, both in schools and homes, are essential to schoolchildren health with regard to STHs. However, sanitary interventions will not be fully effective in preventing STH infections without promoting access to quality public services, particularly for people living in poverty, the most vulnerable group.

Reshaping Intestinal Worm Programs to Include A Focus on Women

The Task Force for Global Health
Children Without Worms is now broadening its focus to include women of reproductive age and adolescent girls who are a high-priority group for STH services due to their increased risk of anemia. There is also a clear link between anemia during pregnancy and negative health outcomes among infants.

Trachoma

Physician shines spotlight on mass distribution of azithromycin for trachoma control

Cheryl Guttman Krader
Ophthalmology Times
Investigators find increased treatment regimen is effective and long-lasting for patients.

Northline Backs Efforts to End Trachoma

Northline (Australia)
Northline lent its services to transport eye and face hygiene packs to kids in the Northern Territory in a bid to end Trachoma, a debilitating eye disease that is entirely preventable through good hygiene.

Cross-cutting

New Community of Practice supports Neglected Tropical Diseases Program Managers in Africa

Global WACh
The Global WACh Gut Health and Child Survival team, in partnership with the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda recently launched Kikundi, a Community of Practice (CoP) for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Program Managers in Africa. Kikundi is the Kiswahili word for “group,” which fittingly describes this CoP that aims to foster connection among Program Managers, and ultimately help them in achieving national and global NTD elimination benchmarks.

Other

WHO issues new guidance for research on genetically modified mosquitoes to fight malaria and other vector-borne diseases

Carla Drysdale
Relief Web
The guidance framework for testing genetically modified mosquitoes, developed in partnership with TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and the GeneConvene Global Collaborative, an initiative of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, describes best practices to ensure that the study and evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes as public health tools is safe, ethical and rigorous.

Management of insecticides for use in disease vector control: a global survey

Henk van den Berg et al.
BMC Infectious Diseases
Responses were received from 94 countries, or a 48% response rate. Capacity for insecticide resistance monitoring was established in 68–80% of the countries in most regions, often with external support; however, this capacity was largely lacking from the European & Others Region.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Sustainability framework for action against neglected tropical diseases 2021-2030 Webinar
June 8, 2021
WHO and USAID 

Schistosomiasis Research Innovation 2021
June 8-9, 2021
Global Schistosomiasis Alliance

Rising to the challenge: A year of NTD programming and research during COVID
June 10, 2021
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network and the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases

Global Health Compassion Rounds: Compassion, WASH, and Quality of Care
June 17, 2021
Focus Area for Compassion & Ethics

Topics in Infection 2021
June 18, 2021
The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting 2021 
June 20-26, 2021
The Commonwealth

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