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Also In Global Health News: NIH And Rare Diseases; Cold Emergency In Peru; U.S.-Russia Emergency Cooperation Pact

NIH Program Pilots Drug Development For Schistosomiasis, Other Rare Diseases

The NIH Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program has “launched five pilot projects that are taking the [NIH] in a new direction: developing drugs,” writes the Wall Street Journal.  Among the projects is one that targets “drug development … for parasitic diseases schistosomiasis and hookworm.” The program, which has a $24 million budget, targets rare diseases because “many pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to take on the risks and expense of trying to develop new drugs for these conditions,” the newspaper writes. “‘Most of the problems we are addressing are not scientific problems,’ said Christopher P. Austin, director of the NIH program. ‘They are operational issues'” (Marcus, 7/24).

Cold Weather In Peru Prompts Emergency Declaration

“The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in more than half the country due to cold weather,” BBC News reports. This season, temperatures have reached -24C [11F]. The state of emergency was “declared in 14 of Peru’s 24 regions” and “means regional authorities can dip into emergency funds to provide medicine, blankets and shelter to those most affected,” according to the news service. Doctors attribute “malnutrition, extreme poverty and poor living conditions” as “major contributing factors” to hundreds of related deaths that have occurred in the country (Collyns, 7/24).

Russia And U.S. Emergency Officials To Cooperate On Emergency Situations, Humanitarian Aid

Russian and U.S. chief emergency officials signed a joint statement outlining “key areas of cooperation” in “prevention and handling of emergency situations,” KyivPost reports. “This is the first meeting between Russian and U.S. chief emergency officials under the [U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission],” said Yury Brazhnikov, a representative from the Russian emergencies ministry (7/23). Xinhua adds that “one of the immediate joint projects is providing aid to Kyrgyz population, said Brazhnikov.” Among other key areas are the “joint assessment of food security” and emergency preparedness in Central Asia, “joint humanitarian response drills,” and “increased exchange of specialists and information between the Russian and U.S. humanitarian aid agencies” (7/24).

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