World Antimicrobial Awareness Week Kicks Off and Other NTD News

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 credit: WHO

Lymphatic filariasis

RTI International: Eliminating lymphatic filariasis in Nepal

The Annapurna Express (Nepal)

Over the last few years, with support from USAID’s Act to End NTDs | East, the Government of Nepal has been working to determine which Nepalis are not getting the treatment they need. A gender equity and social inclusion analysis conducted in Dang, Banke, and Kapilvastu confirmed that there are challenges faced by different communities causing them to either miss or refuse treatment. Detailed results are currently being used by national, provincial and district officials, with support from USAID’s Act to End NTDs| East, to develop plans to adapt treatment campaigns to the needs of these communities, including people of certain religious and ethnic groups and young women who face mobility restrictions, by engaging men to achieve better treatment results in the challenging geographic areas in the coming years. Despite some challenges, Nepal has made tremendous progress toward eliminating lymphatic filariasis, with more than 18m Nepalis no longer requiring treatment across the country, thanks to the success of these interventions to date.

Improving quality of life of lymphatic filariasis patients through follow-up

WHO Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste has 435 confirmed LF patients who are currently on follow-up. The country has not detected a new LF case since 2019, and it has set focus on eliminating the disease by adopting two strategies under the WHO’s Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF)- stopping the spread of infection through large-scale annual treatment of all eligible people in an area or region where infection is present; and alleviating the suffering caused by lymphatic filariasis through provision of the recommended essential package of care. 

Centre declares five undivided districts in Andhra Pradesh filariasis-free

Tharun Boda, The Hindu (India)

The State government has taken up various programmes to eradicate filariasis since 2002 when there was a high incidence in 10 districts.


Persistence of onchocerciasis in villages in Enugu and Ogun states in Nigeria following many rounds of mass distribution of ivermectin

Uwem F. Ekpo et al., BMC Infectious Diseases

Results from this study show that onchocerciasis persists in adults in many villages in Enugu and Ogun states despite many prior rounds of ivermectin MDA. Prevalence was higher in villages surveyed in Enugu than in Ogun. Low Mf densities suggest the MDA program is working well to reduce disease, but more time will be required to reach the elimination goal.


Knowledge, experiences, and practices of women affected by female genital schistosomiasis in rural Madagascar: A qualitative study on disease perception, health impairment and social impact

Angela Schuster et al., PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Our study underlines that FGS has an important impact on the sexual health of women and on their social life in the community. Our results highlight the importance of providing adequate health education and structural interventions, such as the supply of water and the provision of sanitation measures. Further, correct diagnosis and treatment of FGS in adolescent girls and women should be available in all Shaematobium-endemic areas.

Diagnostic performance of a urine-based ELISA assay for the screening of human schistosomiasis japonica: A comparative study

Yi Mu et al., Frontiers in Microbiology

Although they are convenient and involve a highly acceptable non-invasive procedure for clinical sample collection, the insufficient sensitivity of the three urine-based assays (the urine ELISA assay, the U_ddPCR test, and the POC-CCA assay) will limit their value for the routine screening of schistosomiasis japonica in the post mass drug administration (MDA) era, where low-intensity infections are predominant in many endemic areas.

Neolignans isolated from Saururus cernuus L. (Saururaceae) exhibit efficacy against Schistosoma mansoni

Juliana R. Brito et al., Scientific Reports

Based on our continuous studies involving the chemical prospection of floristic biodiversity aiming to discover new bioactive compounds, this work reports the in vitro antiparasitic activity against Schistosoma mansoni adult worms of neolignans threo-austrobailignan-6 and verrucosin, both isolated from Saururus cernuus L. (Saururaceae). These neolignans showed a significant in vitro schistosomicidal activity, with EC50 values of 12.6–28.1 µM. Further analysis revealed a pronounced reduction in the number of S. mansoni eggs. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed morphological alterations when schistosomes were exposed to either threo-austrobailignan-6 or verrucosin. These relevant antischistosomal properties were accompanied by low cytotoxicity potential against the animal (Vero) and human (HaCaT) cell lines, resulting in a high selectivity index.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis

Communication Intestinal Helminth Infections in Ghanaian Children from the Ashanti Region between 2007 and 2008—A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Real-Time PCR-Based Assessment

Charity Wiafe Akenten et al., Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease

In conclusion, the retrospective assessment suggests a low prevalence of enteric helminth infections in Ghanaian children from the Ashanti Region within the assessment period between 2007 and 2008.

Gut bacteriome and metabolome of Ascaris lumbricoides in patients

Pavit Klomkliew et al., Scientific Reports

[We] aimed to investigate bacteriomes in the gut of helminths and fecal samples of patients via next-generation sequencing. Our results showed that infection intensity was associated with the bacterial composition of helminth guts but not with the intestinal bacteriome of human hosts. Moreover, the metabolomes of A. lumbricoides in the heavy and light ascariasis cases were characterized using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Increased levels of essential biomolecules, such as amino acids, lipids, and nucleotide precursors, were found in the guts of helminths isolated from heavily infected patients, implying that these metabolites are related to egg production and ascariasis pathogenicity. 


World Antimicrobial Awareness Week


This year, the theme of WAAW is “Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together.” We call on all sectors to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobials and to strengthen preventive measures  addressing AMR, working together collaboratively through a One Health approach.

Laboratory diagnostics for human Leishmania infections: a polymerase chain reaction-focused review of detection and identification methods

Ineka Gow, Nicholas C. Smith, Damien Stark and John Ellis, BMC Parasites and & Vectors

A multitude of laboratory techniques for the detection of Leishmania have been developed over the past few decades, and although many have drawbacks, several of them show promise, particularly molecular methods like polymerase chain reaction. This review provides an overview of the methods available to diagnostic laboratories, from traditional techniques to the now-preferred molecular techniques, with an emphasis on polymerase chain reaction-based detection and typing methods.

Global leishmaniasis surveillance: 2021, assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic


The aims of this report are to update the results of the GHO leishmaniasis indicators reported by Member States to WHO up to 2021, to describe specific indicators of gender and age distribution, relapses, the AmBisome® donation programme, selected outbreaks, case fatality rates for visceral leishmaniasis (VL, also known as kala-azar), rates of co-infection with HIV and VL and the burden of post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL). This report also describes the Kala-azar Elimination Programme in South-East Asia and adverse events after administration of antileishmanial drugs.

Kill the dengue virus in 6 hours instead of 2 weeks? This NUS researcher is ‘getting close’

Neo Chai Chin, Channel News Asia (Singapore)

“We saw this outlier, this antibody that appeared to kill the virus within a few hours, and it did it at concentrations that were much lower than any of the other antibodies we isolated,” said MacAry, who is also the director of the NUS’ Life Sciences Institute.

GHIT Fund Product Development Platform Request for Proposals

Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

The GHIT Fund is pleased to announce a product development investment opportunity for the development of new drugs, vaccines, or diagnostics for infectious diseases that are prevalent in the developing world.