Sunday, 5 February 2012

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Last week saw Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD’s) make headlines in the scientific and humanitarian community. On 30th January, 13 of some of the world’s most renowned pharmaceutical companies together with prominent leaders and other charitable organisations pledged to work towards actively combating and eradicating some of the world’s deadliest yet neglected diseases by 2020.

I have followed this closely, done my research and here to bring you a summary of what there is to know about NTD’s. Visit World Health Organisation for more Information on NTD’s.

Neglected Tropical Disease refers to 17 selected diseases of ancient times which still remain a burden in 149 countries today. They have been highlighted as predominantly affecting the poor in developing countries. There are about 1.4 billion people affected by these diseases and the companies (listed in the table below) have pledged to donate an average of 1.4 billion treatments each year to those in need. Most of these conditions are preventable and treatable and can be eradicated through sanitation, clean water, awareness and early medical intervention. Of course these key measures remain a challenge in the affected regions and it is for this reason that these pledgers have vowed to actively pursue the eradication of NTD’s by 2020.  

10 out of these 17 of which this pledge is to actively address are:
  1. Sleeping sickness, or Human African Trypanosomiasis
  2. Guinea worm disease, or dracunculiasis
  3. Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis
  4. Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis
  5. Visceral Leishmaniasis or kala-azar-azar
  6. Onchocerciasis, or river blindness
  7. Soil-transmitted helminth's (STH)
  8. Blinding Trachoma
  9. Leprosy
  10. Onchocerciasis, or river blindness
A brief summary of these diseases and the areas of prevalence can be found here:

Together the pledgers have vowed to:
  •         Sustain, expand and extend drug supply to affected nations
  •          Accelerate research and development for new treatments
  •          Increase funding to improve drug product and operational research
  •    Increase funding to improve delivery and implementation programmes including prevention, monitoring and education
  •          Coordinate their efforts and work together to achieve these goals by 2020

Table 1: Pledgers on eradicating Neglected Tropical Disease by 2020.
Pharmaceutical companies
Other Organisations
Merck & Co
World bank
Novartis AG
Bill and Melinda Gates foundation
Sanofi Aventis

Children’s investment fund foundation
Bayer HealthCare

Johnson & Johnson

Bristol- Myers-squipp Co

Lion’s club International
Pfizer Inc

Gilead Sciences Inc

Merck KGaA

Abbott Laboratories

AstraZeneca Plc

Eisai Co

No comments: