Infectious Insights Blog

Leprosy: It’s Still Here

Malcolm Duthie, right, visits a home in the Philippines, where leprosy still remains a problem, particularly for younger people. As we near the end of the first month of 2016, it’s hard to believe that a disease first mentioned in written records in 600 BC still exists in today’s world. But the reality is leprosy is still here – found in more than 100 countries around the world. According to our colleagues at the American Leprosy Missions, 52 children around the world are diagnosed with leprosy … every day. And we know that many more will remain undiagnosed due to stigma, fear and lack of medical expertise. IDRI leprosy diagnostics These statistics are even harder to digest when we note that leprosy was targeted for elimination by the early 2000s. According to case reports, that goal was achieved. Yet news stories about leprosy still abound. [...]

January 8th, 2016|

IDRI’s 3rd Annual Gift Guide for Geeks

The pressure is on. Shopping days are numbered. Expectations are high. What do you get for your favorite geek on your holiday shopping list??? We asked that question of IDRI employees, who shared their recommendations for their best gift ideas for geeks. What happens when the power goes out and your cell phone dies? Never fear, says Chris Antony. Just make sure you have this hand crank emergency charger on hand. A great stocking stuffer! For the geek who likes to cook, Rob Lin suggests these two great cookbooks that combine science and cooking: The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science and Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks and Good Food. For the geek who likes a nice glass of wine every now and again, Elyse Beebe suggests these beaker wine glasses from the I Love Science Store. From Alyssa Manning: “I suggest My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla. I got it for my geeky Dad last year!” If you have loved ones who want to use technology to monitor their health, Aarthy Vallur recommends the AliveCor Mobile ECG. “It’s a great gift for parents or retirees. I got one for both my Dad and my in-laws and they love it!” […]

December 15th, 2015|

Now is the Time: HIV Cure

A couple years ago, the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands convened dozens of leaders from science, government, philanthropy and industry at a meeting called the “Summit on Public-Private Partnerships for Research Toward a Cure.” IDRI was honored to be represented at this meeting as we discussed ways to bring HIV to an end. From this meeting the following strong and important consensus statement was agreed upon:  “More than 30 years into the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, scientific and clinical research has taken us to the point where a cure for HIV/AIDS is possible. Driven by the evidence supporting such possibility, The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands recently brought together key stakeholders from academia, government, foundations, and industry to discuss what actions could be taken to accelerate efforts towards the goal of a cure for HIV infection. The group concluded that now is the time to work collectively and aggressively to reach this goal with the ultimate objective of making a cure available to every person in need, wherever they happen to live in the world. Although effective antiviral therapies exist that can control HIV infection, curing HIV/AIDS — eradicating the virus from infected individuals or eliminating the need for lifelong antiviral therapy — will require an extraordinary, collaborative global effort, backed by strong and sustained political and industrial leadership. We believe that developing a cure for HIV is one of the most important biomedical challenges of the 21st century. It is clear that the task is too large and too complex for any one laboratory, company, or country to undertake in isolation. […]

December 1st, 2015|

Antibiotic Resistance: Are You Contributing to the Problem?

How many times have you been prescribed antibiotics and didn’t finish the course of treatment? Maybe you were feeling better or  thought “I could save the rest of these in case I get sick again.” If so, you are a contributor to the rise of antibiotic resistance — and you might not realize it. This week, Nov. 16-22, has been designated by the World Health Organization as “World Antibiotic Awareness Week,” designed to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and encourage best practices, such as completing a full course of antibiotics when prescribed and not sharing antibiotics prescribed for you with others. “The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global crisis. It’s one of the greatest threats to health today. This makes a broad range of common infections much more difficult to treat, replacement treatment are more costly, more toxic, and require much longer periods of time for treatment,” WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said in a news conference. […]

November 16th, 2015|

The Emerald City: Filled with Generosity

NOTE: Susan Galea is Director, Global Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance, for Merck; she is working for three months at IDRI as part of the Merck Fellowship for Global Health program. Galea and another Merck fellow, Todd Kennedy, are working on the HIV Cure Initiative, for which IDRI serves as the fiscal sponsor. Maybe I have been drinking the philanthropic water of this city, but I would be remiss not to mention the generosity that I have seen from day one of my Fellowship. The substantial investment that Merck has provided for these Fellowships can’t be overlooked. Simply put, through the Fellows that they provide, Merck is attempting to fortify nonprofit organizations with technical and human support. Specifically, here in Seattle, they have paired Todd Kennedy and me with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and our sponsor Erik Iverson. This organization is genuinely advancing global health. Many of the world’s most devastating diseases are getting attention here as they focus on new diagnostics, adjuvants, drugs and vaccines for diseases such as leprosy, leishmaniasis and tuberculosis. So why is IDRI the fiscal sponsor for HIV Cure Initiative?  They believe in the importance of this collaboration and give generously of their time with the belief that they share with relevant scientists:  HIV can be functionally cured or at least put into a remission state. […]

October 20th, 2015|
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