“Researchers are developing an electronic nose that would sniff out tuberculosis (TB) like a Breathalyzer detects alcohol, putting an end to current time-consuming tests and possibly saving hundreds of thousands of lives each year,” the Globe and Mail reports (D’Aliesio, 11/7). A team of Indian researchers is planning to have a prototype in hospitals by October 2013, after receiving a $950,000 grant on Monday from Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the Guardian (Tran, 11/7).
In this post on the PLoS “Speaking of Medicine” blog, Grania Brigden, the tuberculosis (TB) adviser to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, writes that while “[t]his year’s Global Tuberculosis Control report shows the beginning of a decline in the global tuberculosis epidemic, … there is…
The Guardian profiles Brian Brink, chief medical officer at Anglo American, South Africa’s largest private-sector employer, and the company’s efforts to treat and prevent HIV among its employees. According to the newspaper, “HIV affects 12,000 of its employees, or 16 percent of its 70,000-strong permanent staff.” The Guardian continues, “For Anglo, a healthy workforce is a more loyal and productive one,” which is why it offers HIV testing and treatment free-of-charge to employees, runs HIV prevention programs, and promotes gender equality. “Not only is it a moral imperative to get on top of the AIDS problem, it’s also good for business, and the wider South African economy. The prevalence of AIDS and HIV [the virus that leads to AIDS] probably lops one percent off the country’s GDP,” Brink said (11/3).
Health officials in the northern Angolan province of Uige are on high alert “after a 14-month-old boy tested positive for polio, which has made a resurgence in the country, UNICEF said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/3). “After eliminating new polio cases for three years in succession following its 27-year civil war, Angola saw a strain of the crippling virus reappear in 2005,” the news service adds.
SciDev.Net examines tuberculosis (TB) in India, which has the world’s highest TB burden, and some experts’ hopes that researchers in the country can develop accurate and affordable diagnostic test kits. “The recognition that no new anti-TB vaccine is expected before 2015 has prompted experts to pin their hopes on improving diagnosis,” the news service writes. “One cause for worry in India is a plateau in the number of new cases being detected at 87 percent of actual infections, over the past five years,” and another is the “slow rate of decline of the disease in India,” SciDev.Net notes, adding, “Despite the drawbacks, global experts at [a recent TB] conference were optimistic that Indian diagnostic companies would soon form a world hub for high-quality generic diagnostics” (Padma, 11/3).
Nearly Half Of Pregnant Women In Southern China’s Poor Areas Do Not Get Tested For Syphilis, Study Shows
“Nearly half of pregnant women do not get tested for syphilis in poor areas of southern China where the sexually transmitted disease has seen a resurgence, researchers said Wednesday” in a study published in the WHO’s November 2011 Bulletin, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. Pregnant women with syphilis can miscarry, have stillbirths or their infants can have congenital defects, the news service notes. According to the AP, the study “found that more than 40 percent of about 125,000 mothers-to-be in Guangdong province were not tested for syphilis in 2008, mostly due to a lack of health facilities in rural areas.” The study noted that “several provincial and national programs to improve testing have been put in place” since the study was conducted, the AP writes (Wong, 11/1).
With disease burden shifting from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) over the coming years, “African health scientists need more funding and support to overcome the barriers and deal with a changing health situation on the continent,” Olive Shisana, chief executive officer of the South African Human Sciences Research Council, said during a keynote address at last week’s World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany, SciDev.Net reports. “Many of these diseases can be prevented by putting scientific research and health technologies to work, said Shisana, adding that this ‘epidemiological transition is an opportunity for us to build capacity and to collaborate to tackle these diseases together for the benefit of the globe,'” the news service writes.
Council On Foreign Relations Releases Interactive Map Tracking Vaccine-Preventable Disease Outbreaks
The Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Health program “has released a user-friendly interactive map on the web that tracks ‘Vaccine-Preventable Disease Outbreaks’ around the world,” Stewart Patrick, senior fellow and director of the council’s Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, writes on the group’s website. The council’s Laurie Garrett and colleagues for the past…
UNICEF released a statement on Tuesday correcting an October 21 report by its office in Madagascar “expressing concern over a resurgence of polio in Madagascar after a routine health survey identified vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) in several healthy children.” According to the statement, “there was no re-emergence of polio in Madagascar,” and “[t]he last wild poliovirus case in Madagascar was detected in 1997.”
Universal HIV screening in the ER is not a practical option, researchers from France’s Emergency Department HIV-Screening Group write in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on Monday, Reuters reports. According to the study, “[m]ore than 1,100 people would have to be offered HIV tests in the emergency room to find just one new infection,” Reuters notes.