Each year on October 15, hundreds of millions of people around the world mark Global Handwashing Day to highlight one of the most important health practices around—handwashing with soap. Handwashing is cost-effective and simple, and it’s one of the easiest ways to protect against the most common illness among children worldwide—diarrheal disease.
Over a half million children under five die from this treatable and preventable cause each year, with many survivors continuing to suffer from chronic malnutrition and stunting far after the illness has passed. Children that are most vulnerable live in rural, impoverished areas with unsafe water and poor sanitation, where needed treatment can be too difficult to access or too costly to afford.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Working together with an integrated approach that includes vaccines, treatment with oral rehydration solution and zinc, drugs, safe water, nutrition, education, and better sanitation, we can save lives and create better health and opportunity for everyone. Help spread the word this Global Handwashing Day. Pass on one or more of the images below with important messages about handwashing and diarrheal disease prevention, and check out our list of resources.
From “Science Kardashians” to a significant announcement from a public official in San Francisco—catch up on your science, R&D, and global health headlines with the collection of stories below.
Proving that not all news is bad news, here’s an uplifting map that shows the incredible progress made in just a few decades to increase rates of child survival around the world. Humanosphere
Science uses a new Kardashian Index (named for reality star Kim Kardashian) to identify the “science stars” of Twitter and stirs debate about whether scientists should spend less time tweeting and more time writing papers. Science
For decades, researchers have combed the corners of the earth searching for microorganisms that could be used to make the latest lifesaving antibiotics. A new study suggests they could have been looking much closer to home—at the bacteria that live inside our bodies. The New York Times
Women in high HIV incidence settings could benefit greatly from biomedical prevention tools, but a new publication raises questions about products that, while promising in the lab and in some trial settings, face real-life barriers to acceptability in the field. Science Speaks blog
In this guest post, Claire Wingfield—product development policy officer at PATH—writes about a new paper exploring why research and development (R&D) of high-priority health tools for diseases and conditions affecting low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) should be a critical component of the post-2015 development agenda. This post was originally featured on the Global Health Technologies Coalition blog Breakthroughs.
The new paper make the case for the inclusion of research and innovation for health as a central component of the post-2015 agenda. Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.
A dearth of adequate health technologies and interventions targeting poverty-related diseases—like HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases—means that millions of people in LMICs continue to die each year from preventable and treatable diseases and conditions. Progress on developing new interventions targeting the health priorities of LMICs has faltered because these diseases occur almost exclusively among the world’s poorest and most marginalized populations. Thus, there is little or no perceived commercial market encouraging companies to develop products targeting LMICs. Because the health burden imposed by poverty and social vulnerability remains far too high, achieving health for all is one major goal of the post-2015 development agenda.
In a new paper—developed by the Council on Health Research for Development, the Global Health Technologies Coalition, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and PATH—the authors make the case for the inclusion of research and innovation for health as a central component of the post-2015 development agenda. The paper describes the impact that increased investments in R&D and innovation for health—particularly for the world’s poorest—have had in contributing to progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—particularly for MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (improve maternal health), and 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases).
“Positive deviants” in the fight against AIDS, vaccines for mosquitoes, and the man responsible for saving 50 million lives from dehydration due to deadly diarrhea—these are just a few of the stories featured in our round-up of news from August. Dive into the selection below to get caught up on some of the trending headlines in malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease, and more.
It’s no secret that breastfeeding provides infants with the best start in life, but did you know it also provides important health and economic benefits for everyone else? In fact, it’s tied to every one of the Millennium Development Goals. The Guardian
The man behind oral rehydration therapy—heralded as “potentially the most important medical advance” of the twentieth century—describes how this radically simple solution came to be. BBC
Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Malawi—three surprising “positive deviants” in the global fight against AIDS. How are they doing it and what can we learn? The New York Times
An important milestone for malaria elimination—first malaria treatments containing semisynthetic artemisinin are now shipping to malaria-endemic countries. The Guardian
At the time of its introduction, oral rehydration solution was a breakthrough in saving lives from diarrhea, but superstition, distrust, and a significant “know-do” gap prevented it from reaching widespread adoption for years. The New York Times
Ten years ago, we launched an ambitious plan to capitalize on a synthetic biology innovation to create a non-botanical source of artemisinin for antimalarial drugs. This summer, the first artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) containing semisynthetic artemisinin (ssART) are hitting the market. Take a look back at a few moments from this journey that spanned multiple sectors, countries, cultures, and time zones!
At the OneWorld Health office in San Francisco, CA, during the early days of the project—quick team photo before getting back to work.
Photo: PATH Drug Solutions.
One of several trips to France—getting to know our colleagues and project partners over a meal and a stroll (2008).
Photo: PATH Drug Solutions.
Photo: PATH Drug Solutions.
Ten years ago, a group of experts in research, pharmaceutical product development, and public health formed a partnership to stabilize the artemisinin supply chain. Now, that work is coming to fruition. Dr. David Kaslow, PATH’s vice president of product development, talks about the Artemisinin Project, our success, and what’s next.
A new era for malaria treatment
This month, after nearly ten years of effort, the first batch of malaria drugs manufactured with a new, semisynthetic form of the key ingredient, artemisinin, will start reaching endemic countries in Africa.
The shipment—more than 1.7 million treatments of Sanofi’s Artesunate Amodiaquine Winthrop® (ASAQ)—is the first of its kind. It marks a new era of antimalarial drugs manufactured using semisynthetic artemisinin (ssART) instead of historically-used botanical material. It also offers a promise of expanded access to treatment for millions sickened by malaria every year—many of which are young children in sub-Saharan African countries.
Think summer means a slow news cycle? No way! Big news emerged from the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, as well as important developments for people affected by the scourges of malaria and diarrheal disease. Check out the stories that made headlines in July!
150 years after Mohandas Gandhi stated that good sanitation was more important than independence, India seeks to end open defecation among its 600 million citizens who lack access to toilets. The Economist
“Surprise findings” of Lancet study indicate the global burden of HIV is much lower than previously estimated; unfortunately, deaths from malaria are taking a bigger toll. The Guardian
Where do mosquitos go during the dry season? That’s the “perplexing mystery” surrounding malaria control in Mali, and one that man’s best friend may be able to answer. Nature
Didn’t make it to Melbourne for this year’s AIDS Conference? Check out the documents that “defined the meeting” of the world’s foremost HIV/AIDS researchers. AIDS MAP
While global health headlines didn’t garner nearly as much attention as the World Cup this past month, there was still plenty to get excited about. From a new initiative to expand treatment options for children with HIV to the power of “disruptive innovation” and the “race against time” to defeat malaria—below is a selection of stories sure to get you worked up.
Exciting news from our program as we recently announced we’re expanding the search for new drugs to treat deadly diarrhea in partnership with our colleagues at Saint Louis University’s Center for World Health and Medicine. Bioresearch Online
A new initiative, at once “ambitious and overdue,” seeks to close the gap in treating pediatric HIV by pooling the resources of industry, civil society, and government. Science Speaks
Pharmaceutical companies attempt to tackle the lack of treatments for children with HIV by producing more child-appropriate formulations and sharing intellectual property. The Washington Post
An innovative, integrated approach to deadly diarrhea could mean a brighter future for children in the poorest, most rural regions of Africa. The Guardian
Guest post was contributed by Marvin Meyers, PhD, who directs medicinal chemistry for the Center for World Health and Medicine (CWHM) at Saint Louis University.
A few months ago, this blog provided an overview of the drug discovery and development process. What is very clear is that, while drug discovery is a very difficult and risky business, the potential benefit for millions of people worldwide makes it all worthwhile. Large pharmaceutical companies have significant resources to help absorb the failures that are inevitable in the drug discovery business. As nonprofit groups working to discover new drugs for diseases in developing countries, we need to do everything in our power to minimize the risk for failure and improve the likelihood for success. This requires partnering between groups that have complementary expertise and resources.
Moving beyond the lab bench
CWHM at Saint Louis University is a relatively new player in the rapidly expanding “academic drug discovery center” phenomenon. Formed in 2010, CWHM is made up of a group of drug discovery scientists with more than 200 years of collective experience in the pharmaceutical industry. This group is essentially a complete drug discovery project team embedded in an academic environment, with expertise in translation of basic science into new drug candidates for clinical trials.
Some common themes emerge in our round-up of global health news from the month of May. For instance, two stories expose the virulent nature of cholera devastating two different regions of the world. In another two stories, India takes center stage, as the health inequities between urban and rural, rich and poor are explored. See what other common threads emerge in the selection of stories below.
For over a century, no cases of cholera were reported in Haiti. By 2014, the rate of infection represented nearly one in every 15 people in the country, with over 8,500 Haitians killed. The stark reality of the introduction and rapid spread of the disease is explored. Foreign Affairs
Despite declaring itself malaria-free 50 years ago, Venezuela is seeing the disease re-emerge for the first time in urban areas, a development that could take years to reverse. The Guardian
The divide between rich, poor, urban, and rural in India reveals deep inequalities in access to quality healthcare and a stark difference in the newborn mortality rate. The New York Times
A “sexy” new ad from Save the Children is drumming up controversy around diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poor, including diarrhea and malaria. NPR