This news roundup is a collection of headlines and other items on neglected tropical diseases, and does not reflect the work or the views of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases or the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.
Photo: Captain Clean: teaching children about hygiene through games; credit: Sightsavers
Prevalence and factors associated with transmission of lymphatic filariasis in South Sudan: a cross-sectional quantitative study
The distribution of LF is widespread, with varying transmission risks. The produced prevalence maps of infection provided evidence on the areas for targeted interventions in the national NTD program in South Sudan. An increased number of positive CFA were identified using FTS than ICT [filarial test strips compared to immunochromatographic test]; hence, it is advisable to use FTS in the future transmission survey.
Bayesian Network Analysis of Lymphatic Filariasis Serology from Myanmar Shows Benefit of Adding Antibody Testing to Post-MDA Surveillance
These findings suggest that the addition of Bm14 Ab improves the sensitivity of LF testing for current or past infection. The combination of antigen plus Bm14 Ab should therefore be considered for inclusion in post-MDA surveillance to improve the sensitivity of transmission surveys and prevent the premature cessation of MDA.
Considering that it is imperative to successfully employ measures for early and accurate, fieldadaptable diagnoses, this Grand Challenges is a call to address an urgent need for the development of novel diagnostics for lymphatic filariasis disease. Apply by July 21.
Integrated transmission assessment surveys (iTAS) of lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis in Cross River, Taraba and Yobe States, Nigeria
The study identifies that LF-MDA can be safely stopped in all four of the IUs studied, but that MDA for onchocerciasis needs to continue, even though this may pose a challenge for LF surveillance. Based on the preliminary results from all four sites, this study has fulfilled the primary objective of determining the programmatic feasibility of an iTAS as a tool to simultaneously assess onchocerciasis and LF prevalence in areas co-endemic for the two infections that have completed the recommended treatment for one or both infections, and to make decisions on how to proceed.
Shift in the skin microbiome among individuals presenting with filarial lymphedema compared to non-filarial healthy individuals in Ghana
Our data revealed a significant shift of the bacterial population with the introduction of potentially pathogenic bacteria to compete with the healthy skin resident microbiota during LF infection.
Immunoinformatics Design and Assessment of a Multiepitope Antigen (OvMCBL02) for Onchocerciasis Diagnosis and Monitoring
Serological analysis revealed that the OvMCBL02 test significantly differentiated between serum samples of onchocerciasis patients from the Kombone Health Area in the South West Region of Cameroon (n = 63) and control serum samples from Rwanda (n = 29) and Europe (n = 26) as well as between serum samples from the onchocerciasis hyperendemic region of Kombone Health Area (n = 63) and the hypoendemic region of Bandjoun Health District (n = 54). Interestingly, the test did not cross-react with serum samples from patients suffering from related nematode infections, thereby suggesting that further characterization of the OvMCBL02 multiepitope antigen will render it an additional member of the diagnostic toolbox for the elimination of onchocerciasis.
In this review, the multifunctional roles of miRNAs in the growth and development of schistosomes are discussed. The various regulatory functions of host-derived and worm-derived miRNAs on the progression of schistosomiasis are also thoroughly addressed, especially the promotional and inhibitory effects on schistosome-induced liver fibrosis. Additionally, the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of schistosomiasis is considered.
Through the EU-funded Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, an international public-private partnership led by Merck, work has been ongoing to develop, register and provide equitable access to an effective and safe paediatric treatment for schistosomiasis. . . "This trial clearly confirmed a favourable efficacy and safety profile of arpraziquantel,” adds de Vrueh. Based on this success, the project has now entered the regulatory filing stage. With plans to submit the Marketing Authorisation Application to the European Medicines Agency by the end of 2022, on behalf of the consortium, Merck aims to have the product available in the first endemic African country by 2024.
Molecular evidence on the presence of Schistosoma japonicum infection in snails along the Yangtze River, 2015–2019
The results suggest that S. japonicum infection still persisted in nature along the Yangtze River and traditional techniques might underestimate the prevalence of schistosomiasis in its intermediate hosts.
“We have only known about FGS for two years now so we’re missing many cases,” Ms Mkwakti says. “When we do examinations, we see eggs of schistosomiasis in the blood. It is a big problem with big complications – infertility, cervical cancer. It presents like an STI and it is a long period for symptoms to start showing.” While FGS can be cured if caught early, lesions cannot heal if left untreated for a long time, meaning the increased risk of catching HIV remains. Her team is now ramping up testing and treatment, going door to door to reach those who could be at risk.
A family cluster of schistosomiasis acquired in Solenzara River, Corsica (France) — Solenzara River is clearly a transmission site for schistosomiasis in Corsica
Our cases confirm that transmission of schistosomiasis in Corsica is ongoing and has been extended from the Cavu River to the Solenzara River. Solenzara River is clearly a transmission site for schistosomiasis in Corsica. Public health efforts are recommended to uncover and prevent further cases.
In Northeast Brazil, schistosomiasis persists with a high mortality rate, especially in the coastal region, with heterogeneous spatial and temporal patterns. To eliminate schistosomiasis by 2030, it is necessary to strengthen the financing and management of the unified health system (SUS).
Since 2009, the program has consistently treated over 6 million children in the targeted age bracket, in both public and private primary schools and Early Childhood Development. . . Rigorous data and research underpin the National School-Based Deworming Programme rationale, design, and treatment strategy: studies conducted from as early as the 2000s in Kenya by Nobel Laureate Michael Kremer and Professor Ted Miguel found that regular deworming can help reduce school absenteeism by up to 25pc.
Defining optimal implementation packages for delivering community-wide mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminths with high coverage
Efficient duration of MDA delivery uniquely stood out as a highly influential implementation activity for producing high coverage of community-wide MDA for STH. Effective MDA delivery can be achieved with flexible implementation strategies that include various combinations of influential intervention components.
Resistance to single dose albendazole and reinfection with intestinal helminths among children ages 2 to 11 years from the Peruvian Amazon region: a study protocol
We propose to assess the clinical efficacy of Peruvian national guidelines for deworming programs in a prospective observational study conducted in the Amazon River basin area near Iquitos, Peru. Major outcomes to be evaluated include (1) albendazole resistance of intestinal helminths (trichuriasis, ascariasis, hookworm), and (2) frequency of reinfection with intestinal helminths 4 months after treatment with albendazole.
Schoolchildren with STHs had poorer academic performance compared with uninfected children, despite their nutritional status. In addition to school feeding programmes, school-based mass drug administration campaigns may be critical for improving learning outcomes in young schoolchildren.
It depends on how you tell: a qualitative diagnostic analysis of the implementation climate for community-wide mass drug administration for soil-transmitted helminth
Prior to launching the cMDA programme as an alternative to school-based MDA, cMDA was found to be generally acceptable across diverse geographical and demographic settings. Community members, CDDs and health workers felt that engaging communities and tailoring programmes to the local context are critical for success. Potential barriers may be mitigated by identifying local concerns and addressing them via targeted community sensitisation prior to implementation.
The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala (MPHSA), in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), carried out from May 7 to 28 of 2022 a health campaign to operate people affected by trachoma in Sololá to reduce the progression to visual impairment and eventual blindness.
From now until September 2023, Orbis will train over 600 volunteers, some of whom are part of Ethiopia’s Health Development Army, will be given the skills needed to screen every adult in their community and identify anyone with an infectious eye disease called trachoma.
Kenya has renewed efforts toward ensuring that elephantiasis and trachoma are eliminated from the country by 2024.
As the magnitude of trachoma has become clearer, the goal set in 1996 to eliminate the disease by the year 2020 was seen as too hopeful. However, we can now see the great strides that countries are taking in terms of eliminating trachoma, and this progress was helped greatly by funding commitments from the United Kingdom and the United States and the help of millions of volunteers who chose to help with the trachoma elimination programs. “The year 2016 stood out as a remarkable year for Pfizer’s Zithromax donation,” said Dr. Paul Emerson, a member of the International Trachoma Initiative. “The annual number of doses of azithromycin shipped nearly doubled from 62 million in 2015 to 121 million in 2016. As of April 19, 2017, over 636 million doses of azithromycin had been shipped since the donation program began. It was expected that 100-120 million doses would be shipped each year for the subsequent few years, with a gradual decline in the donation as active trachoma was progressively eliminated” (Source: WHO).
In Kenya, Ethiopia and Guinea, we’ve helped to create educational board games to teach children about the importance of hygiene: the aim is to encourage them to change their behaviour as part of the countries’ efforts to eliminate the disease.
Evaluation of the efficacy of insecticide-treated scarves to protect children from the trachoma vector Musca sorbens (Diptera: Muscidae): A phase II randomised controlled trial in Oromia, Ethiopia
Musca sorbens flies are sufficiently repelled by PTS to reduce fly-eye contacts for the wearer, thus possibly reducing the risk of trachoma transmission. Permethrin-treated scarves may therefore an alternative to insecticide space spraying for protection from these flies.
Prevalence of active trachoma and its associated factors among 1–9 years of age children from model and non-model kebeles in Dangila district, northwest Ethiopia
The prevalence of active trachoma in the model and non-model kebeles was high and did not show a statistical difference. Attention to be given to latrine utilization, washing face with soap, and other personal hygiene activities.
In March and May 2022, the Sudanese National Trachoma Program, led by the Ministry of Health with support from The Carter Center, conducted mass drug administration (MDA) and health education campaigns in the Tunaidba Camp, in Al Rahad locality and Um Rakuba Camp, in East El Galabat locality, both in the state of Gedarif. Both camps are located in areas known to require interventions for trachoma, and currently host approximately 20,000 refugees in each camp, many of whom left trachoma-endemic settings in Tigray, or settings where trachoma is suspected to be a public health problem.
@pfizer announces the extension of the global trachoma antibiotic donation program with @ITIatlanta @TFGH through 2030 to help eliminate the leading infectious cause of blindness. Learn more here: http://Pfizer.com/trachoma
Earlier this year, world leaders began the process of committing to and endorsing the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. The declaration is a high-level statement meant to mobilize the necessary political will, community commitment, financial resources, and individual action to end NTDs. The Kigali Declaration will be launched at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs, held on the sidelines of this month’s 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.
WHO is following a 10-year roadmap, launched last year, to fight neglected tropical diseases that endanger more than a billion people worldwide.
Contributions to WHO are funding that work, which is already logging notable successes.
Urbanization is a growing reality for areas containing neglected tropical diseases. Adjusting the approaches to combat these diseases will determine the future of disease prevention. Current and future research into this issue will only deliver more insight and increase the effectiveness of MDAs in urban settings.
In Kigali, government officials, leading African and global medical research institutions, civil society, and the pharmaceutical industry will discuss concrete actions to tackle NTDs, including supporting medical research to develop more effective lifesaving tools – in line with the targets of the World Health Organisation (WHO) NTD Roadmap to eliminate 20 diseases as public health problem by 2030. We cannot reach this goal without innovation for new health tools – in particular innovation driven by African nations and African scientists. We have shown what is possible: in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for example, researchers from national research institutes, working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and international partners, have already succeeded in developing breakthrough drugs for sleeping sickness, one of the world’s most neglected diseases.
Enhancing research integration to improve One Health actions: learning lessons from neglected tropical diseases experiences
Most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are intrinsically embedded within the One Health approach: NTD researchers have already been dealing with multidisciplinary and intersectoral work for decades simply because it is essential for understanding and controlling the usually complex transmission of the pathogens causing NTDs.
This long experience has already enrooted the idea of the horizontal integration of research, control, elimination and eradication strategies.
The ongoing epidemiological transitions of most NTDs urges pursuing and amplifying the development of co-constructed multidisciplinary and intersectoral research initiatives for improving control/elimination/eradication processes.
Lessons from NTDs may also be useful for other diseases targeted by ongoing One Health initiatives.
Over the past decade, Uganda has made significant progress in the elimination, control and eradication of NTDs yet the country still has a high burden of the diseases. These mainly affect the rural poor, resulting in low productivity and socioeconomic development of these populations. Uganda has in place “The overall goal of the Uganda NTD Control Programme Sustainability Plan 2020-2025” which aims to bring together other sectors on board to strengthen mechanisms that will enable the Ministry of Health to sustain NTD efforts and strengthen the health system to provide sustainable, accessible, equitable and quality NTD services to the population.
To secure commitments and financial contributions, the PNLMTN-CP convened a domestic resource mobilization (DRM) roundtable on March 15, 2022, with specific stakeholders across health, financial and civic sectors that have an interest in sustaining the gains made against NTDs. This blog story details the preparation work that set the stage for a conducive meeting with actors not traditionally invested in NTD activities or financing.
Mundel said that with this new declaration, pharmaceutical companies will reaffirm commitments around drug donations and other partners will commit to delivery of these drugs to “finish the job” on targets around NTDs. Before the declaration in London, there was “sporadic and independent” activity in the NTD space. After the declaration, though, “everybody signed up for the same agenda,” he said. “It's worked incredibly well.”
Ending the neglect to attain the sustainable development goals: a strategic framework for integrated control and management of skin-related neglected tropical diseases
To measure progress against skin NTDs and integrated approaches for their control and management, countries are encouraged to adapt the road map’s indicators and define milestones and targets to enable in-country control and management of skin NTDs. Integrated reporting of skin NTDs on a common health information system will not only improve the cost−effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation but also streamline the use of data for planning and action across all endemic skin NTDs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a strategic framework for skin-related neglected tropical diseases (skin NTDs) that identifies opportunities to integrate approaches for control and management, including common learning platforms, capacity-building for case detection and delivery of treatment.1 The framework, a companion document to the road map, was formally launched during a WHO-hosted webinar on 8 June 2022.
That’s particularly frustrating because, while there’s no vaccine for Chagas, the disease is “brilliantly treatable” in young children if it’s caught and treated promptly, says Gilman. But only an estimated 1% of patients receive available treatments.
This article reports three cases of crusted scabies in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Recent updates and a comprehensive review of the literature on the disease are also included, emphasizing the critical importance of early diagnosis and effective medical management of patients, which are necessary to prevent the complications and spread in communities.
Lord Trees and Baroness Sugg call to end Neglected Tropical Diseases with UK Coalition at Westminster event
Last week (8 June) the Coalition against Neglected Tropical Diseases, together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, co-hosted a Parliamentary reception in the House of Lords entitled Ending the Neglect: Celebrating the UK’s role in beating NTDs.
The COR-NTD Research Dataverse is a data repository that houses information about and data from studies supported by COR-NTD AND other studies. The data repository includes metadata, documentation such as protocols and questionnaires used to collect the data, and de-identified results of these studies. Dataverse is a tool that not only provides additional data transparency, but also paves the way for modelling, secondary analysis and replication and protects study participant privacy. Dataverse will extend the scientific value of data generated through COR-NTD supported research. Consider adding your data to the Dataverse. Submit via the linked webpage.
The GHIT Fund is pleased to release the 20th Request for Proposals for the Product Development Platform to support the development of new drugs, vaccines, or diagnostics for infectious diseases that are prevalent in the developing world. In addition, partnerships of the proposed projects will need to be between eligible Japanese and non-Japanese organizations. For detailed Request for Proposals information, please visit RFP-PD-2022-002. The deadline to submit the Intent to Apply form is no later than 10am JST on July 4, 2022. Please note that the submission deadline for the Full Proposal is by no later than 10am JST on August 2, 2022.
NOTE - Events may be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers to confirm events.
Research Links-COR-NTD Research Review: Peer Support Group Models for NTDs
July 26, 2022
COR-NTD and NNN
Worldleish7 (the international Congress on leishmaniasis)
Aug. 1-6, 2022
2022 NNN Conference
Sept. 13-15, 2022
Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network
2022 COR-NTD Annual Meeting
October 4-5, 2022
Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases
The 20th International Congress for Tropical Medicine and Malaria (ICTMM)
October 24 - 28, 2022
2022 ASTMH Annual Meeting
October 30-November 3, 2022
American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
21st International Leprosy Congress 2022
November 8-10, 2022