Archive by category | Tuberculosis

Rwandan model proposed as solution to deadly scourge of counterfeit drugs

The problem of counterfeit drugs has made headlines in recent years with, for example, the discovery of fake versions of the cancer drug Avastin showing up in US hospitals. But the problem is worst in developing countries, where up to 25% of drugs in developing countries are falsified or substandard, according to the World Health organization (WHO).  Read more

Ahead of WHO meeting, experts clash over tuberculosis targets

Diagnostics tubes in a Tanzania clinic show the need for updating tools

The deadline for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is fast approaching, and global governance bodies including the World Health Organization (WHO) are already busy discussing what they might propose for the list of new aims going forward. Tuberculosis was named within goal number 6 in the initial set of MDGs, a set of international developmental targets established by the UN 13 years ago, but the objective was to simply reduce its global incidence. So, as health officials take stock of targets, the tuberculosis community is itching to get its goals included with more definition in the post-2015 development agenda. They will meet to discuss a consensus on the appropriate post-2015 tuberculosis goals at a two-day meeting, sponsored by the WHO, taking place in Geneva beginning 7 February. “My aim is to reach a consensus right now,” says Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO’s Stop TB Department in Geneva. “If we wait, we may miss the train.”  … Read more

Childhood tuberculosis treatment remains imprecise science

Childhood tuberculosis treatment remains imprecise science

By Julie Manoharan Last year, the World Health Organization released updated procedures on how best to tackle the global scourge of tuberculosis. The fourth edition of the “Treatment of tuberculosis: Guidelines” recommended, among other changes, increasing the dosage of tuberculosis medication required to treat children. But, in a sense, the new guidance provided a destination without a map: it failed to address the larger problem of how to improve the accuracy of pediatric dosing. In recent months, researchers have pointed to a host of problems plaguing the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in children, especially those younger than age 5.  Read more

Good reason TB nervous

By now, you’ve all heard about Andrew Speaker, the man who brought extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis to full-blown US attention. The case is undeniably bizarre. Man has deadly infection, health officials try in vain to get him to stop flying, he puts hundreds of passengers at risk despite being on a so-called “no-fly” list, a customs official lets him in because he doesn’t look sick… oh, and most bizarrely of all, his father-in-law is a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specializing in, wait for it, TB. My first response was to think that the US was over-reacting.  Read more

TB’s day in the sun

Well, sort of. For the past few days, I’ve been in rainy Vancouver, where TB researchers from all over the world have gathered for a Keystone meeting on the topic. As we reported in our free TB special this month, TB kills 4,400 people every day and together with HIV, is creating a serious crisis in Africa, Asia and eastern Europe.  Read more

TB or not TB

Did you know that although AIDS and TB kill about the same number of people, AIDS research gets roughly 20 times the money given for TB research? I didn’t either, until I went to a meeting last week organized by MSF (Doctors without Borders). The theme of the meeting was the urgent need to get some more money—a common cry in science, but in this case, fully warranted.  Read more

Going after Gates

When I worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle I was struck by the chemicals researchers routinely tossed away—often down the drain. It seemed paradoxical that the attempt to understand cancer involved the manufacture of some nasty carcinogens.  Read more