Visit us through SCI

There is now a new route to our blog through SCI (the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative).

SCI has been rated one of the top two charities for achieving impact with donations by nonprofit organisation GiveWell and Giving What We Can. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded SCI $1.5 million to improve control of schistosomiasis last year. They are a fantastic, cost-effective charity that’s worth taking a look at.

We have interviews with Professor Alan Fenwick, Director of SCI, and Professor David Molyneux, adviser to WHO, who have both been working on NTDs for over 25 years coming up in the next few weeks. A brilliant insight into how the world of NTDs has evolved.

Next week we’ll be live-blogging and tweeting from the Royal College of Physicians for the WHO event: Uniting to combat neglected tropical diseases which will feature Bill GatesDirector-General of WHO Dr. Margaret ChanManaging Director of the World Bank Dr. Caroline Anstey, and CEOs of nine leading pharmaceutical companies to name a few!

Stay tuned.

Schistosomiasis Initiative homepage

Schistosomiasis Initiative homepage

Double blow for dengue

Nicaraguan children provided data for the study

Nicaraguan children provided data for the study

The reason dengue fever can be more severe a second time round is due to the genetic make-up of the virus, researchers at Berkeley have found. The results may help predict outbreaks of dengue and allow future treatments to be better targeted. Continue reading

Next day delivery not guaranteed

Just like shopping online for Christmas presents, the real hassle with providing drugs for NTDs is not finding the right supplier or best cost, it’s ensuring they arrive on time and in optimal condition. Pharmaceutical companies may have pledged billions of free vaccines for diseases in developing countries but these drugs cannot travel on good will alone. Continue reading

END7: Ending 7 Diseases by 2020

End the Neglect, blogging on behalf of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, has started a new campaign to rid the world of seven of the most common NTDs. Follow their campaign at http://www.END7.org/
We’re at the beginning of something big.

Not many people know about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – a group of parasitic infections that cause needless suffering among more than 1 billion of the poorest people worldwide. END7 is a campaign to see the end of 7 of the most common NTDs by 2020. All it costs is 50 pence to treat and protect one person for one year!

Join us in our mission to end 7 diseases by 2020 – watch our mission in (just over) a minute below and Like us on Facebook. Together we can see the end!

Too many donors spoil the broth

The fragmented nature of donations is hindering efforts to implement aid effectively in developing countries

Tanzania receives aid from over 50 countries worldwide in addition to donations from international agencies and institutions. In a country where aid is much needed, Tanzania does all it can to facilitate the money into the economy but the number of financial sources causes problems. Continue reading

GM mosquitoes to fight dengue

They transmit disease to more than 700 million people and account for least 2 million deaths annually. The control of mosquitoes just got personal.

Mosquitoes have been responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other animal. They are the sole carriers of malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, elephantiasis (lymphatic filiriasis) and chikungunya. There is no vaccine for any of these diseases.

For any disease, prevention is preferable to treatment. Vaccines for dengue and malaria are being developed but could be many years away. Effective mosquito control would decrease the burden of disease significantly and scientists have made huge advances in recent years.

Studies from Oxitec Ltd., a biotech company from Oxfordshire, have focussed on controlling the mosquito populations by genetically modifying the insects. Tactics to protect people in endemic areas include stopping mosquito bites using insecticides, net and repellents, developing preventative drugs and eradicating insects.

Diagram of how GM mosquitoes work

Breaking the cycle: how the process of releasing GM mosquitoes works

Continue reading