If you grab a beer in Mexico your camarero will wedge a lime in the top. The same simple action, with a dash of sunlight, can be used to treat contaminated water in developing countries. Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that adding lime juice to a solar disinfection method speeds up the removal of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, significantly faster than by sunlight alone.
Last week we reported that the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) was many-fold – now an addition to the third D, diagnostics, literally lives up to that description. Chemists from the University of Texas at Austin have drawn inspiration from the art of origami to create a three-dimensional paper sensor that could test for diseases such as malaria and HIV for less than 10 pence.
The fight against neglected tropical diseases is many-fold but whilst there is much talk about drug development and delivery, another integral component of treating NTDs is the third D: diagnostics. It’s all very well having the drugs in the right place at the right time but if you don’t know who needs treating then they are no good.
A new technology unveiled last week could bring faster and more accurate results for detecting diseases in developing countries and is only half a centimetre long.
A new route to our blog through SCI (the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative)
SCI has been rated as 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. A fantastic, cost-effective charity that’s worth a look.
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 blogging and tweeting from the Royal College of Physicians for the WHO event: Uniting to combat neglected tropical diseases where Bill Gates, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, Dr. Caroline Anstey, Managing Director of the World Bank and CEOs of nine leading pharmaceutical companies to name a few!
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
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!
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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
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.