IDRI - Infectious Disease Research Institute

More TB Than Before?

tb14_cover200x283pxSobering news just reported by the World Health Organization (WHO): the estimated numbers of cases of tuberculosis (TB) has gone up by half a million, and now stands at 9 million people with TB in 2013 (up from 8.6 million in 2012). And worse than that, ~1.5 million people died.

In the Global Tuberculosis Report 2014, WHO states “This year’s report shows higher global totals for new TB cases and deaths in 2013 than previously.” These data may reflect better reporting of TB cases, rather than a real increase in cases, but still the number of people infected is staggering and represents a great deal of suffering.

There is some good news, as the mortality rate is falling. However, WHO reckon that there may be as many as 3 million undiagnosed cases of TB every year. That’s a huge group of people who are not receiving the antibiotics and care they need. In addition, there were nearly half a million cases of drug resistant TB. (more…)

Experts Say Infectious Diseases Know No Boundaries

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Bruce Carter, Frank Prendergast and Steve Reed discuss emerging diseases.

As headlines are filled with news of disease outbreak, nearly 150 people joined us last week for the 2nd annual Around the World with IDRI Celebration to learn more.Ourexpert panel, featuring Steve Reed, Bruce Carter and Frank Prendergast, discussed Ebola and other emerging diseases, along with diseases like tuberculosis that have been around for hundreds of years. Kristen Eddings Tetteh of the Washington Global Health Alliance served as facilitator of the panel discussion.

 

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IDRI’s Malcolm Duthie, left, discusses our work in Brazil with event guests.

The effect of disease on families and economies becomes very real when you hear stories like the one shared by IDRI board member Bruce L.A. Carter: “When my mother was 14, she had three sisters. When she was 15, she had none. Her sisters died of TB.”

Guests also had the opportunity to virtually visit Brazil, India and South Africa to hear from IDRI scientists about the work we’re doing in those countries, while enjoying international food, drink and music.

 

Read GeekWire’s recap of the panel discussion.

 

Read more from our experts at wired.com.

 

Read our latest Annual Report to learn more about IDRI’s progress to develop new solutions to combat infectious diseases of global importance.

What is a PDP — and Why Does it Matter?

NOTE: this blog comes from an interview conducted with IDRI’s Rob Lin by Claire Topal of the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Around 20 years ago, researchers and funders realized that there was a need to create pdphealth solutions for diseases of the poor in developing countries, and that this need wasn’t necessarily being (or going to be) addressed by pharmaceutical companies given existing market mechanisms. Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) were created as a tool for donors and governments to fund projects that would address some of these inequities and reduce or even remove the risk for pharmaceutical companies to be engaged in the process.

The way PDPs work is similar to drug and vaccine development in the pharmaceutical sector. The main differences are that funding doesn’t come from private sources but rather from public sources—either governments or large foundations—with the goal of developing health solutions for diseases of the developing world that don’t have a large market potential. (more…)

Out of the Classroom and Into the Lab

For the past few years, I have pursued my passion for global health and infectious disease through my interdisciplinary studies at Whitman College. My work at IDRI this summer gave me the invaluable opportunity to apply my knowledge and expand my interests.

As a upcoming senior studying Health Science, Policy and Culture, I’ve focused my studies on the biological, political, economic and cultural factors that influence both the health of individuals as well as populations as a whole. I became particularly interested in vaccine development from taking a course on infectious diseases last fall. During the course, I learned about the components of vaccines and the decisions that go into developing and distributing them. One of the biggest challenges highlighted during the class was the apparent lack of economic incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines and drugs to treat diseases that affect the poor. This is where IDRI comes in. (more…)

Be Very Afraid: the NTDs are Here

Leishmanaisis, a neglected tropical disease, is caused by the bite of a sandfly.

It is very natural to think of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as those that affect far off and exotic populations, places we may never visit and people we may never know. But that myth has been busted by Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute (one of IDRI’s collaborators) Hotez warns that it is the G20 countries that harbor a “lion’s share” of the NTD burden. These diseases are hidden among the extremely poor and marginalized and are largely hidden from most authorities.

Take the example of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the deadliest among the NTDs. India accounts for the highest global burden of VL concentrated in its poorest state, while Brazil accounts for the most complex spread of VL, from a strictly rural to a peri-urban localization. For those who ask why we in the U.S. must worry about other G 20 countries, here comes the shock: in the Southern states of the U.S. live at least 12 million people exposed to one or more tropical diseases, including NTDs such as Chagas disease and cutaneous leishmaniasis, parasitic worm infections and emerging vector-borne diseases like chikungunya. Though location, climate, vectors and immigration have contributed to some incidence, one factor that ties the people from India, Brazil and the U.S. to the unfortunate masses in sub-Saharan Africa is poverty. (more…)

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