News / Health

Billion People Suffer from Neglected Tropical Diseases

Vidushi Sinha

A billion people around the world suffer from neglected tropical diseases, and the global health community is working to develop new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. But experts note that success is uneven in part because of different rules and regulations in different countries for drug development and testing.

Dr. Shyam Sundar sees patients suffering from Kala azar in India's Bihar state. The disease, transmitted by sandflies, causes prolonged fever and can be fatal, if left untreated.

Dr. Sundar is developing a simpler approach to treatment, rather than the older protocol of several days of injections.

“Today, the future is much more bright for this disease than what it was 20 years ago," said Sundar.

Dr. Sundar works with Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI). The international collaboration, committed to developing and delivering new drugs and therapies, has launched a four-year program for diagnosis and treatment of kala azar in India and Bangladesh. Experts say DNDI's findings may ultimately change the way the disease is treated in these two coutnries.

Dr. Peter Hotez, president of Sabin Vaccine Institute, says it is much easier to test new therapies in India than in other parts of the world.

“The good news is India is what we call IDC - Innovative Developing Country," said Hotez. "Yes, you have enormous pockets of poverty; yes, you have terrible problems with elephantiasis and hookworm, kala-azar, and leprosy. But at the same time, you have a very advanced and sophisticated biotechnology machine in India.”

Deadly and disabling infections are also severe in sub-Saharan Africa. But scientists working there say that people in the region do not benefit from new therapies because their governments lack standardized guidelines for testing new drugs. This is also a problem in south east Asia and parts of South America.

A new report from the Center for Global Development - a public policy research institute - says that scores of medicines for deadly infections are caught in a "regulatory labyrinth" [complex bureaucracy] that slows progress.

Amanda Glassman is the director for Global Health at the Institute .

“Very large number of really important and promising products that are in the clinical development pipeline nearing stage three clinical trials which is the last stage, yet the process to get through the clinical trials is very involved, very costly, very inefficient," said Glassman.

There are 90 potentially life-saving drugs in the pipeline waiting to be tested.

“If they can agree on rules of the game and they can empower a regional institution to make sure that the rules of the game are met then they are gonna get better quality of information," said Glassman. "They are gonna have clinical trial in their countries which also brings benefits.”

Experts say neglected infections take their biggest toll in the poorest countries of the world... nations that also lack the regulatory systems to test new therapies.

 

This is the 2nd article in the series.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs