Also In Global Health News: TB Diagnostic Test; Haitian Government Response; HIV ‘Quad’ Pill; Health Services In Uganda; Malaria Photos

Automatic TB Diagnostic Technology

To aid with tuberculosis diagnostics, Guardian Technologies, a company that originally worked with airport X-ray scanners, “has developed a system that automatically scans microscope slides for the [TB] bacillus,” the New York Times reports. “The company’s software algorithms can spot distinctive shapes, colors and densities that untrained eyes may miss.” The original technology fit a standard microscope to a digital camera and it is now making an automated version that can hold 50 slides. The company said that the TB test was found to be 93 percent accurate in a recent test in South Africa (McNeil, 4/12).

Preval Defends Haitian Government Response

President Rene Preval defended his government on Monday against criticism that “legions of his people” are still “without shelter three months after Haiti’s earthquake,” the Associated Press/New York Times reports. ”This was one of the biggest disasters,” he said. The news service notes: “So far, there has been no significant outbreak of disease, vaccination programs have reached more than 100,000 children and the international aid effort has provided clean drinking water to more than a million people affected by the quake, according to a report released Monday by UNICEF” (4/12).

Four-In-One HIV Pill Enters Late-Stage Clinical Testing

“Gilead Sciences Inc. said Monday it started late stage clinical testing of its four-in-one ‘Quad’ HIV tablet,” the Associated Press reports. The pill includes the drugs elvitegravir, cobicistat, and the two components of Truvada, emtricitabine and tenofovir (4/12). “The Phase III clinical program for the Quad includes two studies … that will evaluate the Quad regimen versus a standard of care among” HIV-positive adults who have not yet started antiretroviral treatment, according to a Gilead press release (4/12).

East African/ Examines Health Funding Gaps In Uganda

The East African/ examines how funding gaps in Uganda are affecting the country’s health services despite a move by the government to triple “the health budget from Ush240 billion ($120 million) to Ush734.67 billion ($367.33 million),” between 2005 and 2009. The article details several factors that may be contributing to the funding shortfall, including a lack of oversight over how donor funds are used. The piece notes, “the biggest donor to the health sector in Uganda, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief for instance spent [close to] $290 million last year on projects” (Nakkazi, 4/12).

New York Times’ Blog Features Malaria Photo Exhibit

The New York Times’ “Lens” blog features the photography exhibit, “Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears,” which was commissioned by the Malaria Consortium and supported by Vestergaard Frandsen, a disease control company. The exhibit, which is on display at the U.N. through May 26, aims to go “beyond pictures of patients ravaged by malaria” in an effort to highlight the “sprawl of the disease,” according to the blog (Lapinski, 4/12).

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