The Global Health Biotech

Infectious Insights Blog

TB Vaccine Success Underscores Need to Continue Development

Scientists at IDRI played an early role in a new TB vaccine, developed by GSK,  that showed promising results in a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The patent application for the vaccine lists our own Rhea Coler and Steve Reed as inventors. The positive results published in the NEJM open the door for new TB vaccines that may have a similar or better efficacy. I'm incredibly excited by this demonstration of the first successful TB vaccine in nearly 100 years, but I hope the enthusiasm for this one vaccine doesn't overshadow the need for the arsenal of vaccines that it will take to bring TB under control. While GSK's vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 54 percent, a related editorial to the NEJM publication poses the question of whether efficacy could be improved by including additional antigens in the vaccine, and also states the adjuvant component may be [...]

September 27th, 2018| |

Reporting on Another “L” Disease

When I write, it's often about leprosy, but there's another "L" disease that deserves attention: leishmaniaisis, caused by the bite of a sandfly. Like leprosy, it's categorized by the World Health Organization as a neglected tropical disease or NTD. Together, the NTDs affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year. I was recently invited to attend the “5th Post Kala Azar Leishmaniasis (PKDL) Consortium Meeting” in Colombo, Sri Lanka. A relatively small panel of scientists, control personnel and policy makers came together to discuss PKDL, a sequelae of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) on the Indian subcontinent and east Africa. A primary motivator for the discussions was the dichotomy that is currently occurring in the relationship between VL and PKDL; despite treatment advances and reduced case reports for VL control, PKDL is becoming relatively more common. We shared data with regard to how PKDL is detected [...]

June 13th, 2018| |

Time for Summer (Science) Reading!

With Memorial Day here, summer is just around the corner. It’s time to kick back, enjoy the sunbreaks and read! We polled IDRI to see what people are reading (and what they’d recommend) from the science perspective. Chris Fox recommends “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” By Siddhartha Mukherjee, which follows the disease from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago to the continued modern-day fight to find a cure. Chronicling Mao’s famous campaign against snail fever, “Farewell to the God of Plague: Chairman Mao’s Campaign to Deworm China” by Miriam Gross is “a bit dry” says Darrick Carter. But, he added it’s a good read about schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that IDRI is teaming up with collaborators to develop a vaccine against. Tanya Parish reports that she just started reading “Factfulness” by the late Hans Rosling, the man who made data and statistics come to life through [...]

May 22nd, 2018| |

The World’s Most Dangerous Creature

When asked about the deadliest creatures in the world, thoughts often turn to sharks, snakes or even lions. But the list is topped by a tiny, buzzing insect that packs a powerful punch: the mosquito, which transmits parasites that cause malaria, one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization, there has been tremendous progress in controlling malaria, but that that progress has stalled and numbers have increased. In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, an increase of 5 million cases over 2015. Nearly half a million people died of malaria. But, together, we can change that. Today (April 25) is World Malaria Day. The theme is “Ready to Beat Malaria,” which underscores the collective responsibility and commitment of the global malaria community in bringing together people working toward a world free of malaria. At IDRI, we join WHO [...]

April 25th, 2018| |

Dan Stinchcomb: The Passing of a Global Health Leader

The world lost a tremendous advocate for global health with the passing of Dan Stinchcomb, PhD, IDRI’s Chief Scientific Officer, who died Feb. 21 after a brief illness. In a short time, he made a tremendous impact on IDRI’s work with his deep expertise in the field of viral diseases and passion for finding new solutions for those diseases. Dan is well known for his expertise in flaviviruses, having developed a vaccine against Dengue and leading a number of projects at IDRI, including the development of novel RNA-based vaccines. Dan, who joined IDRI in 2016 as a Senior Vice President before being promoted to CSO in 2017, will be missed in so many ways – from his leadership skills to his mentorship of up-and-coming scientists. Those who knew Dan loved his incredibly positive attitude, deep voice, unique laugh and excitement for new ideas and projects. Dan received his PhD from Stanford University [...]

March 14th, 2018| |
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