Thursday, June 24, 2010

TED Talks: James Nachtwey raises public awareness of XDR TB

Photodocumentator James Nachtwey shares powerful images taken by his camera as he travels to Thailand, Siberia, India and other places around the world. He reminds us of the tragedy of tuberculosis and the threat of the extensively drug resistant variety.

TED Talks: James Nachtwey fights XDRTB

[ted id=360]

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Philippine tech transfer act signed into law

The Office of the Philippine President has officially enacted RA 10055 (An Act Providing the Framework and Support System for the Ownership, Management, Use, and Commercialization of Intellectual Property Generated from Research and Development Funded by Government and for Other Purposes), or simply the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009. It was signed by President Arroyo last March 23,2010 at the Malacanang Palace.

The law stipulates the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, and all related agencies to come up with implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to establish the system for technology transfer in the Philippines.

Said act will enable government-funded researches by local public and private R&D institutions to have government-aided commercialization prospects through the creation of a Technology Licensing Office. The law also encourages all R&D institutions to set up their own tech transfer units.

read its entire length: Republic Act 10055 (pdf)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Increased Availability Accelerates Drug Resistance

Noble efforts to increase accessibility of drugs for TB, malaria, and HIV to the developing world has yielded a dreaded side effect: increasing drug resistance.

In the newly published report, "The Race Against Drug Resistance" by the Center for Global Development, a non-governmental organization based in Washington, data reveals that millions of children die in developing countries each year from drug resistant diseases, and the death toll and dollar costs will continue to rise.

Rachel Nugent, chair of the expert working group of this report, quips, "Drug resistance develops naturally, but careless practices in drug supply and use are hastening it unnecessarily".

read full article: Combating Drug Resistance

download CGD report: CGD. 2010. against drug resistance

Monday, June 14, 2010

ASEAN harmonizes pharmaceutical standards, to benefit consumers

Member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to harmonize existing pharmaceutical regulations in the region, with the aim to help free trade in the region. Delegates from all over ASEAN convened at the 16th ASEAN consultative committee for standards and quality-pharmaceutical product working group (ACCSQ-PPWG) meeting in Manila last May 25-29, 2009. This is in alignment with the objective of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scare study raises measles, mumps incidence in UK

The Economist writes how a single published case series in Lancet in 1998 was ballooned by media hype and stirred doubt among Britons on MMR vaccine effectivity. In the following years, cases of measles and mumps spiked in England. After a decade, the link between MMR vaccination and behavioral disorder has not been proven, and Dr. Wakefield was struck off the UK medical register in May 2010.

Involving the Corporate Sector in Disease Control

The Economist writes that the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) believes in the increasing importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs). No government or NGO in the developing world will succeed in fighting HIV, malaria, or TB on its own. One successful PPP model was initiated with Pfizer's network of sales reps and Washington DC's health department. Indeed, to quote, "at the end of the day, it is everybody’s business”.

read full article: Altogether now: Enlisting business to fight HIV

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TED Talks: Whitesides invents lab on a chip

Traditional lab tests for disease diagnosis can be too expensive and cumbersome for the regions most in need. George Whitesides' ingenious answer, at TEDxBoston, is a foolproof tool that can be manufactured at virtually zero cost.

George Whitesides: A lab the size of a postage stamp

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TED Talks: Garrett recalls lessons from the 1918 flu

In 2007, as the world worried about a possible avian flu epidemic, Laurie Garrett, author of "The Coming Plague," gave this powerful talk to a small TED University audience. Her insights from past pandemics are suddenly more relevant than ever.

Laurie Garrett on lessons from the 1918 flu

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TED Talks: Vertes looks into the future of medicine

Eva Vertes -- only 19 when she gave this talk -- discusses her journey toward studying medicine and her drive to understand the roots of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Eva Vertes looks to the future of medicine

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TED Talks: Mullis designs potential cure for difficult infections

Drug-resistant bacteria kills, even in top hospitals. But now tough infections like staph and anthrax may be in for a surprise. PCR developer and Nobel-winning chemist Kary Mullis, who watched a friend die when powerful antibiotics failed, unveils a radical new cure that shows extraordinary promise.

Kary Mullis' next-gen cure for killer infections

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TED Talks: Larry Brilliant calls for pandemic control

Accepting the 2006 TED Prize, Dr. Larry Brilliant talks about how smallpox was eradicated from the planet, and calls for a new global system that can identify and contain pandemics before they spread.

Larry Brilliant wants to stop pandemics

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TED Talks: Pisani Rationalizes the Wisdom of Whores

Armed with bracing logic, wit and her "public-health nerd" glasses, Elizabeth Pisani reveals the myriad of inconsistencies in today's political systems that prevent our dollars from effectively fighting the spread of HIV. Her research with at-risk populations -- from junkies in prison to sex workers on the street in Cambodia -- demonstrates the sometimes counter-intuitive measures that could stall the spread of this devastating disease.

Elizabeth Pisani: Sex, drugs and HIV -- let's get rational

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Monday, June 7, 2010

TED Talks: Hans Rosling's View on HIV and AIDS

Hans Rosling reveals the beauty of statistics in unraveling the complex risk factors of one of the world's most misunderstood diseases: HIV/AIDS. He argues that preventing transmissions -- not drug treatments -- is the key to ending the epidemic.

Hans Rosling on HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals

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TED Blog: Hans Rosling and the world's most important trends

TEDBlog had a chat with Hans Rosling, the extraordinary global health professor that makes data come alive. He had his third TEDTalk and again wowed us all, explaining complex information with animated graphs and quite a humor. In this interview, he delves into his theories on concurrency and AIDS transmission, our ideological ruts, and developing the Obama-meter!

Q&A with Hans Rosling: A deeper look at AIDS transmission and disease stats

TED Talks: Seth Berkley on the smart vaccine strategy

In this TED Talk, Seth Berkley explains the genetic diversity of influenza and HIV, retrovaccinology, and smart vaccine design and delivery which will bring us closer than ever to eliminating a host of global threats -- from malaria to AIDS to flu pandemics.

TED Talk: Seth Berkley: HIV and flu - the vaccine strategy

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TED Blog: Seth Berkley and His Search for an AIDS Vaccine

TED Blog talked to epidemiologist and founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Seth Berkley. He told the story of the beginnings of IAVI, exploring why different decisions have historically been made in response to the HIV pandemic and explaining why a vaccine makes sense today. Read on to understand how we've progressed in the way that we think about treating AIDS and other global-scale viruses.

Q&A with Seth Berkley: The search for an AIDS vaccineQ&A with Seth Berkley: The search for an AIDS vaccine

Friday, June 4, 2010

Studying psychological effects of toxoplasmosis in the 21st century

The Economist Magazine. 2010. Toxoplasmosis and psychology: A Game of Cat and Mouse

Compelling research on Toxoplasma gondii's genes for dopamine-synthesizing enzymes sparks creative speculation on the nature of toxoplasmosis. More pieces of evidence are presented from odd behaviors of infected mice and correlates between national mental state and burden of infection.

Plan of Action for NTD Control, Elimination

This PLoS NTD editorial article provides several arguments that the fight against NTDs can be forwarded more successfully. While more health products are made accessible, proper national leadership and strategic global efforts are ever more crucial for NTD control epecially in developing countries.

pdf: Hotez & Pecoul, 2010. manifesto for NTD control

Hotez PJ, Pecoul B (2010) ‘‘Manifesto’’ for Advancing the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4(5): e718. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000718

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Which New Approaches to Tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases Show Promise?

This PLoS Medicine Debate examines the different approaches that can be taken to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Some commentators, like Jerry Spiegel and colleagues from the University of British Columbia, feel there has been too much focus on the biomedical mechanisms and drug development for NTDs, at the expense of attention to the social determinants of disease. Burton Singer argues that this represents another example of the inappropriate “overmedicalization” of contemporary tropical disease control. Peter Hotez and colleagues, in contrast, argue that the best return on investment will continue to be mass drug administration for NTDs.

Spiegel, et al 2010. PLoS Medicine 7(5):e1000255

Spiegel JM, Dharamsi S, Wasan KM, Yassi A, Singer B, et al. 2010 Which New Approaches to Tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases Show Promise?. PLoS Med 7(5): e1000255. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000255