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The Role of Diagnostic Technologies to Measure Progress & 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. 


 Drew Deathe solders electronic components for a 3D-printed exam scope, which can be attached to a mobile phone for use in assessing trachoma. Photo credit: The Carter Center

Lymphatic filariasis

SMC’s work on curbing filariasis can be model for the country

Jay Pachchigar
The Times of India
The implementation of elimination of lymphatic filariasis (ELF) program by Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) can become a model to develop guidelines and strategies to curb other diseases and infections including Covid-19 in an urban Indian setting.

Filaricidal activity of Daniellia oliveri and Psorospermum febrifugum extracts

Melanie Abongwa et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Our study supports the use of D. oliveri and P. febrifugum in the traditional treatment of onchocerciasis and LF. The further purification of active extracts from these plants could yield lead compounds for filarial drug discovery and development.

Individuals co-exposed to sand fly saliva and filarial parasites exhibit altered monocyte function

Moussa Sangare et al.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Together, our data suggest that SG or recombinant salivary proteins from Pd alter human monocyte function by upregulating selective inflammatory cytokines.


Serotonin Levels in the Serum of Persons with Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy: A Case-Control Study

Melissa Krizia Vieri et al.
In conclusion, an increased serotonin level is unable to explain the pathogenesis of OAE [onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy].

Biting behaviour and infectivity of Simulium damnosum complex with Onchocerca parasite in Alabameta, Osun State...

Lateef O. Busari, Olusola Ojurongbe, Monsuru A. Adeleke, Olabanji A. Surakat and Akeem A. Akindele
A longitudinal study was carried out to investigate species composition, seasonal abundance, parity and transmission potential of Simulium damnosum complex in Alabameta community in Osun State, Southwestern, Nigeria. . . The zero infectivity in the flies may plausibly indicate the possibility of zero transmission of Onchocerca parasite in the community which if sustained over a period of time may signify the possibility of onchocerciasis elimination.


This Pioneering Scientist Is Why Children Everywhere Can Be Treated for a Devastating Disease

Jacky Habib
Global Citizen
In 2009, she returned to Zimbabwe to conduct research on children impacted by bilharzia together with Takafira Mduluza from the University of Zimbabwe. . . By 2010, Mutapi led the group in taking their research to the World Health Organization (WHO), who after reviewing the findings, agreed with the group’s assessment and decided to permit children under the age of six to receive treatment.

WHO Donates Sh. 5 Billion Drugs To Fight Bilharzia And Worms

Chris Mahandara
Kenya News Agency
The fight against bilharzia and intestinal worms in the country has received a major boost after the World Health Organisation (WHO) donated drugs worth Sh.5 billion to combat the neglected tropical diseases. Ministry of Health Division of Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases Head, Dr Sultani Matendechero, said the Department has rolled out a new strategy through which the donation shall be channeled to eradicate the diseases. The Breaking Transmission Strategy (BTS), which is being rolled out in Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga counties, he said, targets to treat six million people in the four counties over the next five years.

Bilharzia cases drop in Mayuge after mass drug exercise

Philip Wafula
Daily Monitor (Uganda)
“Before the drug administration, the prevalence of Bilharzia was between 60 per cent and 70 per cent, but after the exercise, it has dropped to 30 percent,” [Mr Juma Nabonge] said.

Low awareness and common misconceptions about schistosomiasis in endemic lowland areas in Western Ethiopia ...

Alemayehu Assefa, Berhanu Erko, Svein Gunnar Gundersen, Girmay Medhin and Nega Berhe
BMC Public Health
In the current research area, schistosomiasis prevention and control recommendations should be redesigned to change the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the community and local health workers. It is also necessary to have the local budget and trained manpower in order to diagnose and treat schistosomiasis locally. There is a great need to have a safer Praziquantel pediatric formulation.

Rational approach to drug discovery for human schistosomiasis

Philip T. LoVerde et al.
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Our team approach with schistosome biologists, medicinal chemists, structural biologists and geneticists has enabled us to develop and test novel drug derivatives of [oxamniquine] OXA to treat this disease. Using an iterative process for drug development, we have successfully identified derivatives that are effective against all three species of the parasite. One derivative CIDD-0149830 kills 100% of all three human schistosome species within 5 days. The goal is to generate a second therapeutic with a different mode of action that can be used in conjunction with praziquantel to overcome the ever-growing threat of resistance and improve efficacy.

Serology- and Blood-PCR-Based Screening for Schistosomiasis in Pregnant Women in Madagascar—A Cross-Sectional Study and Test ...

Tanja Hoffmann et al.
The analyses indicated an overall prevalence of schistosomiasis in Madagascan pregnant women of 40.4%, with only minor regional differences and differences between serology- and blood PCR-based surveillance.

Spatial sampling and machine learning approaches to improve schistosomiasis control

Jin-Xin Zheng
The control and elimination of Schistosomiasis is a huge project and has gained an increasing amount of manpower and financial resources. A new study discusses machine learning approaches to improve the control of schistosomiasis.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

A strong effect of individual compliance with mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis on sustained clearance of STH

Jérémy T. Campillo et al.
Parasites & Vectors
Our results illustrate the importance of MDA compliance at the level of the individual with respect to the STH benefit provided by semiannual ALB MDA, which is used for the elimination of LF in Central Africa.

The role of diagnostic technologies to measure progress toward WHO 2030 targets for soil-transmitted helminth control programs

Lieven J. Stuyver and Bruno Levecke
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
In the present viewpoint, we first identified the key diagnostic attributes for technologies to measure progress toward WHO Targets #1 and #2 for 2030. Subsequently, we verified which existing technologies can address these attributes and how they compare to the currently recommended KK method when applied in a programmatic setting. Finally, we identified some opportunities to improve existing diagnostic technologies.

Lack of Consistent Association between Asthma, Allergic Diseases, and Intestinal Helminth Infection in School-Aged Children ...

Margarete Arrais et al.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
We concluded that, overall, intestinal helminth infections were not consistently associated with allergic symptoms or atopy.

Increasing efficiencies from integrating control and elimination programmes for soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis

David Rollinson et al.
International Health
Attention is now beginning to focus on implementation of the new WHO NTD Roadmap (2021–2030), which presents single disease alliances and coalitions with an opportunity to consider novel ways to integrate and adapt control and elimination programmes to meet the new goals. This discussion piece links the parasitic worm diseases, caused by soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomes, highlighting that neglected tropical disease control programmes could potentially benefit from greater cohesion and innovation, especially when increasing efforts to achieve elimination goals.


Trachoma Staffers Make Exam Scopes at Home

Vanessa Scholtens
The Carter Center
I already owned a 3D printer I use for a hobby. While working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, I realized I could use it to print parts for the trachoma grading scopes.


Ready, Set ... Think! Hackathon Aims To Kill Off Fake Health Rumors

Nadia Whitehead
That was the challenge at this spring's Hackathon, an international competition hosted by the Task Force for Global Health's Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center. While the competition sounds very COVID-relevant, in this case, the event challenged participants to dispel misinformation surrounding diseases like leprosy, Dengue fever and schistosomiasis.


Retrospective hospital-based study on snakebite envenomation in Sudan

Huda Khalid and Rasha S Azrag
Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Although hospital-based records underestimate the burden of snakebite, they can still provide an insight regarding the actual numbers. Here, we highlight the at-risk states in Sudan to be targeted for further questionnaire-based epidemiological studies and to guide health authorities to reduce the burden of snakebite envenomation by insuring proper antivenom distribution to the highly affected areas.

The END Fund and IHS Nigeria Partner to Tackle Endemic Neglected Diseases in Ekiti state, Nigeria

The END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative solely dedicated to ending the five most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), today announced their partnership with IHS Nigeria, the leading telecom infrastructure service provider company, to tackle prevalent neglected tropical diseases in Ekiti state, in the Southwest part of Nigeria.

Call for Concept Papers: $25,000 Donald Krogstad Award for Early-Career Malian Scientists

American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
This annual award will support an early-career Malian scientist in pursuing research that aims to blend laboratory and field epidemiological approaches broadly related to solving priority health issues in Mali. Deadline: June 30.


Vital work on hold due to COVID-19 in DRC

Christian Blind Mission
Dr Dawili speaks about resuming treatments once some of the restrictions are lifted: "We have established a timetable with CBM’s technical and financial support for starting activities in May 2021, beginning with the identification of all cases of TT, followed by the training of surgeons and then surgery can start. We must act urgently to avoid blindness due to trachoma."


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

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

How to develop a country integrated skin-NTD strategy: identifying and filling the research gaps
Jun 14, 2021 

Sustainable Supply Chain: What it means for NTDs
June 15, 2021

Sharing NTD Research Data
June 17, 2021

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

Spreading Truth Not Disease: Paradigm shift in Social Behaviour Change for NTDs
June 23, 2021

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