Posts Tagged ‘Global Health Council’

The Global Health Council Releases New Fact Sheets

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

There are new fact sheets out from the Global Health Council on treatment as prevention and the status of future global health vaccines.

Did you know that HIV transmission can likely be prevented through anti-retroviral therapy? This concept is known as “treatment as prevention.” There is substantial evidence to demonstrate that this is effective but would need to be implemented by a “test-and-treat policy,” which would require widespread, frequent HIV testing and immediate treatment in those who test positive for HIV.

Check out the treatment is prevention fact sheet to find out about some of the benefits and barriers to implementing a test-and-treat model.

And did you know that vaccines in the development pipeline undergo five phases of clinical trials before they’re even submitted for regulatory approval? This process alone can take years and carry a significant cost. Global healh vaccines for HIV/AIDS, hookworm, malaria, schistosomiasis and tuberculosis are all currently in different phases of the pipeline, but there is still more work to be done.

For example, 30 HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates are currently in the pipeline, but even if one proves successful, it may only serve to suppress the virus, not eliminate it completely. Vaccine development can also be hindered by the complexity of certain diseases. For example, schistosomiasis is caused by worms in the intestinal or urogenital tract — meaning a vaccine is needed for both forms.

Take a look at the global health vaccines fact sheets to find out more about these and the other global health vaccines in the pipeline.

The Global Health Council is a Research!America member.

Making the Case for Cost-Effectiveness of Vaccines for Global Health

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

As part of a series of vaccine-focused briefings, Research!America, the Global Health Council and PATH hosted a Capitol Hill briefing today on the cost effectiveness of vaccines.

The briefing was moderated by Eileen Quinn of PATH. Panelists included Lewellys Barker, MD, senior medical adviser at Aeras; Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute; and Marc LaForce, MD, director of the Meningitis Vaccine Project at PATH.

All three panelists work for or with product development partnerships (PDPs), which are nonprofit organizations with missions to research, develop and foster access to new health technologies that target diseases disproportionately affecting impoverished populations and developing countries.

The panelists showcased how each partnership collaborates with public and private sector partners to develop and deliver vaccines against common killers like pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis. This research saves lives, improves health and provides hope for families in the U.S. and worldwide.

LaForce shared a case study of Burkina Faso, an impoverished country in sub-Saharan Africa where MVP implemented a targeted meningitis vaccination plan. Over 1 million vaccines were administered per day to virtually one hundred percent of the country’s one to 29-year-olds. As a result, the number of reported meningitis cases are at an all-time low in the country. The success in Burkina Faso can be used as a model in other countries: Introducing the vaccine in seven other endemic countries could save $350 million and 140,000 lives over a decade.

Barker hopes that a new tuberculosis vaccine could meet with similar success. Although a TB vaccine already exists, it doesn’t provide lifelong protection against the disease. A better TB vaccine is needed, and progress is being made on that front: when Aeras began in 1999, there were no new TB vaccines in development; now there are roughly 11 in the research and development pipeline.

Malaria and TB are two of the world’s most devastating diseases, but there is also a critical need for vaccines against neglected tropical diseases that are endemic in impoverished populations, such as hookworm, snail fever and leprosy. These diseases, Hotez said, are often called “poverty promoting diseases.”

“Wherever you find poverty, you find neglected tropical diseases — including in the U.S.,” Hotez said. These diseases, he continued, could provide opportunities for additional partnerships and teach important global health lessons that can be applied in the U.S.

During the Q&A session, a key point emerged: It’s not just about vaccines, it’s about vaccination. The focus must not only be on development but also on on efficient administration of vaccines to people in need, such as the successful, rapid vaccination efforts in Burkina Faso — which requires global health research and adequate funding.

“There are enormous costs to these diseases running unchecked,” Quinn said, “And we have a solution in vaccines, which are cost effective and relatively easy to administer.”

However, this solution is not possible without adequate funding. A recent analysis in Health Affairs showed that increasing vaccination in 72 countries over the next decade would prevent 6.4 million deaths and circumvent $6.2 billion in treatment costs.

The Global Health Council is a Research!America member.

GHC Gets Us Up to Speed on Efforts Against Polio, Malaria and NTDs

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The Global Health Council has produced a number of interesting papers in the past few months, detailing the worldwide fight against continuing global health problems. Polio, malaria and neglected tropical diseases all still play a major role in global health; each has its own successes, and each has areas that are cause for significant concern.

Polio, for instance, is nowhere near the threat it once was; since 1988, cases of polio have decreased 99% worldwide, according to the GHC’s fact sheet on polio vaccination and challenges to eradication. But as has been noted elsewhere, eliminating the final 1% has proven a difficult task.

The GHC’s fact sheet notes that cases are primarily limited to four countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, India and Pakistan. But closing the book on polio has been hampered by viral mutations, uneven vaccine effectiveness and – in the case Afghanistan and Pakistan – regional conflicts hindering vaccine distribution.

Complicating efforts is the way in which polio spreads. Many who host the polio virus are never affected by symptoms; unaware they are infected, they can easily pass the virus to others. Moreover, people with compromised immune systems may shed the virus for years after receiving a vaccine which contains the weakened virus; those with healthy immune systems shed the weakened virus for only a few weeks.

Unlike the nearly-extinct polio, malaria continues to be a threat across the globe, putting half the global population at risk. GHC’s malaria position paper, released last month, finds that the disease disproportionately affects those living in poverty. In some high-burden countries, GHC writes, the cost of treating the disease can account for one-quarter of household incomes. Imagine, then, the average American spending more than $11,000 annually.

The fact sheet notes that research will play a critical role in the battle against malaria. The basis for the most common treatments, artemisinin, may be on the verge of becoming obsolete; thus, new treatments are desperately needed. And though no vaccine for malaria has yet emerged, there are a handful of promising candidates.

NTDs are perhaps a larger problem than malaria and polio combined. GHC’s fact sheet on NTDs, released in February, states that between 18 to 57 million years of life are estimated to have been lost because of premature death and disability.

If those numbers aren’t large enough, consider this: One billion people around the world are currently infected with an NTD; two billion others remain at risk. That’s just under half of the world’s population.

As with malaria, research can have considerable influcence. For some NTDs without adequate control – the fact sheet lists Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and Buruli ulcer among them – research is critical. Several others depend on a key ingredient in treatment; as with malaria, resistance develops? Here too research, in the form of drug development, plays an important role.

Even if global health is not an area of focus for you, the fact sheets are well worth reading.

The Polio Vaccine: A Dose of Prevention

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Research!America, the Global Health Council and the United Nations Foundation held the second in a series of vaccine-focused briefings Thursday. This particular briefing focused on the polio vaccine.

The briefing was moderated by Peg Willingham, executive director of the global vaccines campaign for the United Nations Foundation. Presenters David Bowen, PhD, deputy director of global health policy and advocacy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and John Sever, PhD, vice chair of the International PolioPlus Committee for Rotary International, shared their insights on this critical vaccine and recent investments in polio research which led to the discovery of a more effective, bivalent version of the polio vaccine.

Polio can cause lifelong paralysis and even death. The briefing largely focused on the need for complete eradication of the disease through the polio vaccine and the global funding shortfall that threatens to derail the effort.

“The difference between having a little bit of the disease left and complete eradication is profound,” Bowen said.

Willingham, Sever and Bowen all agreed that the eradication goal is near, but hard work is necessary to complete it. An investment of around $10 billion would completely eradicate the disease and could result in a $50 billion payoff over 40 years, Sever said. Not only that, it would also mean that we won’t ever have to devote another dollar to polio in the future.

“As long as polio is anywhere, it can spread — it could spread here in the U.S. — so we have to work to get everyone immunized,” Sever said.

Sever shared a firsthand account of the history of the polio vaccine as he experienced it through his work with Rotary International, a service organization with 1.2 million members in 170 countries, one third of whom are in the U.S. Underlying Sever’s words was a call for public-private partnerships around polio eradication in all parts of the world, especially where it lingers — in conflict zones like Afghanistan.

“Imagine a world without polio and a future event by Research!America and the Global Health Council where we can refer to polio as a thing of the past,” Willingham said as she concluded the briefing.

For more info about the polio vaccine, check out Research!America’s vaccines fact sheet.

The Global Health Council is a Research!America member.

Research!America hosts New Jersey Salon Dinner

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

As part of a series of dinners on specific U.S. states’ roles in the global health R&D enterprise, Research!America held a salon dinner featuring New Jersey in Washington, D.C. last week.

A small group of senior U.S. officials, global health experts and representatives from some of New Jersey’s large pharmaceutical companies discussed the challenges and opportunities of global health R&D for New Jersey, a $60 billion industry that is essential for economic and job growth in the state.

“New Jersey is the Silicon Valley of global health research and development,” Jeffrey Sturchio, PhD, a former Merck executive and the current CEO of Global Health Council, said.

Dinner participant Dona DeLeon, director of Gov. Chris Christie’s D.C. office, pointed out that in a tough economic climate, governors around the country are scrambling to meet budget shortfalls and to keep businesses from moving away. Still, she realizes the value of health R&D.

“In our state, the governor is very well acquainted with [the pharmaceutical] industry. It’s very well known that this industry is really an engine that drives our state,” DeLeon said.

The state is well positioned to be a leader in global health R&D, with 17 of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceuticals, medical technology and diagnostic companies either based or located in the state.

Research!America’s efforts have resonated with the New Jersey federal delegation. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) recently quoted Research!America health and economic impact data on the House floor, highlighting the importance of health R&D as an economic driver for the state (video here).

“New Jersey is the third largest R&D employer in the U.S., with more than 211,000 jobs supported by health R&D, including 50,000 direct jobs,” Rep. Pallone pointed out.

Please visit http://www.researchamerica.org/gh_new_jersey to access our New Jersey Economic Impact Fact Sheet, public opinion poll results and related media.

To access recent and similar efforts in Illinois, please visit http://www.researchamerica.org/gh_Illinois. To learn more about Research!America’s state-based global health R&D advocacy program visit http://www.researchamerica.org/global_health.

Merck & Co., Inc. and the Global Health Council are Research!America members.

Research!America Co-Hosts a Hill Briefing on Vaccines

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Research!America, together with the Global Health Council and the ONE Campaign, hosted a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss the economic and health impact of vaccines and why investment in future vaccines is one of the most cost-effective ways to secure a healthier future globally and at in the United States.

The briefing, “Vaccines: The Best Shot For Our Health and Economy,” was moderated by Michael Gerson, a columnist at the Washington Post and a senior fellow at the ONE campaign. Panelists included Jon Andrus, MD, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization; Amie Batson, MPPM, deputy assistant administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development; Phil Hosbach, vice president of immunization policy and government relations at Sanofi Pasteur; and Col. Julia A. Lynch, MD, director of the military infectious disease research program (MIDRP) for the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research.

Andrus talked about the need to close the gap between vaccine delivery in the U.S. and vaccine delivery abroad, in places where vaccines are needed most. Hosbach discussed the vaccination program for dengue fever, an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes. He cited public/private partnerships as key components to developing and bringing an effective dengue vaccine to market.

Like Hosbach, Batson discussed the importance of partnerships, but Batson focused on private sector parternships. All health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Food and Drug Administration, play different roles in promoting vaccination, and collaboration to further vaccine development is critical, Batson said. Lynch discussed the role of the Department of Defense in the development of vaccines. Forty percent of all vaccines developed for adults in the U.S. were developed by the U.S. Army, she said.

“Vaccines are the greatest return on investment that public health has seen,” Hosbach said.

The event was the first in a series of four vaccine-focused briefings that will take place over the next several months.  Topics of future briefings in the series include the polio vaccine, HPV and adolescent girls’ health, and the financing of vaccines.

For more information on collaboration between agencies, check out Research!America’s new agency fact sheet.

The Global Health Council and sanofi-aventis are Research!America members.

April 2010 Spotlight on Member Blogs

Friday, April 30th, 2010

FASEB, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, has a newsroom that functions as a blog, in that you can subscribe to updates via RSS. On their Twitter account, @FASEBopa, they have linked to a research map on ScienceCures.org, which is a voter engagement campaign to call on our leaders to make federal funding for biomedical research a priority. You can use the map to see how NIH-funded scientists are working for cures in your state. At Research!America we have a similar map that describes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for NIH projects.

Case Western Reserve University’s News Center is also blog-like in its features. It features posts about honors and awards received by members of the Case Western community plus research findings, such as this story about a new resin being tested at the School of Dental Medicine.

World Malaria Day, April 25, and World TB Day, March 24, were both covered by the Global Health Council’s blogs, Global Health Magazine’s Guest Post Blog and Blog4GlobalHealth.

We accidentally skipped the March spotlight on member blogs, but we’re back on track with this month’s edition. If you’re a Research!America member who’d like your blog featured, just let us know and we’ll add you to the rotation! If your organization is not yet a Research!America member, why not consider joining today?

Global Health Magazine: The Killers We Ignore

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

A cover story in Global Health magazine, published by Research!America member the Global Health Council, reports on the growing problem of chronic disease in low- and middle-income countries which previously struggled with controlling infectious disease. Lifestyle changes and screenings that prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes aren’t widely practiced or available in these areas. Research!America’s Paul G. Rogers Society ambassador was quoted on some contributing factors to these increases:

Keith Norris, interim president of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and an ambassador in Research!America’s Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research, points out another factor that exacerbates conditions in the developing world. Globalization not only introduces Western World sedentary, fast food lifestyles to developing countries, but also results in the dumping of toxic technology trash in some areas. The lack of environmental pollution controls and some countries’ acceptance of contaminated waste contribute to “an exposure to environmental toxins that is going to be many fold greater than what people in developed nations may experience,” he said.

Continue reading the article here.