Posts tagged science

Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.
Sia Bintou spent more than 10 days in MSF’s Ebola treatment center in Guéckédou, Guinea. There were many times when the medical team thought she would not make it, but Bintou beat the disease. Here, staff congratulate her as she is discharged. Right now, Ebola patients have been identified in more than 60 locations in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. MSF is the only aid organization treating people affected by the virus.

Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.

Sia Bintou spent more than 10 days in MSF’s Ebola treatment center in Guéckédou, Guinea. There were many times when the medical team thought she would not make it, but Bintou beat the disease. Here, staff congratulate her as she is discharged. Right now, Ebola patients have been identified in more than 60 locations in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. MSF is the only aid organization treating people affected by the virus.

Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.
Teams at the treatment center at Donka hospital, in Conakry, Guinea, work through the night and 24/7. Since the outbreak in West Africa began in March, MSF has treated 470 patients—215 of them confirmed cases—in specialized treatment centers in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The scale of this Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution and the numbers of cases and deaths. There have been 528 cases and 337 deaths since the epidemic began, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures.

Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos.

Teams at the treatment center at Donka hospital, in Conakry, Guinea, work through the night and 24/7. Since the outbreak in West Africa began in March, MSF has treated 470 patients—215 of them confirmed cases—in specialized treatment centers in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The scale of this Ebola epidemic is unprecedented in terms of geographical distribution and the numbers of cases and deaths. There have been 528 cases and 337 deaths since the epidemic began, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures.

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF
A mother and child wait for the results of a blood test for malaria in the PK5 district of Bangui. The time from testing to results is 15 minutes, and provides a positive or negative result by searching for parasites in the blood. Malaria is transmitted when one is bitten by an infected Anopheles mosquito carrying the parasite. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children, but is both preventable and curable when caught in time. Control and preventative measures can dramatically reduce the incidence of this disease.

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF

A mother and child wait for the results of a blood test for malaria in the PK5 district of Bangui. The time from testing to results is 15 minutes, and provides a positive or negative result by searching for parasites in the blood. Malaria is transmitted when one is bitten by an infected Anopheles mosquito carrying the parasite. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children, but is both preventable and curable when caught in time. Control and preventative measures can dramatically reduce the incidence of this disease.

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF
"Malaria kills more than bullets," said an MSF nurse in the PK5 district of Bangui in February. Here, boxes of malaria antigen detection tests, which allow for rapid diagnosis in the absence of a traditional laboratory, are shown sorted by negative or positive results. In May, 687 consultations were conducted for malaria patients. Malaria remains one of the primary public health problems in the Central African Republic and the leading cause of death among children.

Photo by Yann Libessart/MSF

"Malaria kills more than bullets," said an MSF nurse in the PK5 district of Bangui in February. Here, boxes of malaria antigen detection tests, which allow for rapid diagnosis in the absence of a traditional laboratory, are shown sorted by negative or positive results. In May, 687 consultations were conducted for malaria patients. Malaria remains one of the primary public health problems in the Central African Republic and the leading cause of death among children.

An MSF doctor in Batil camp, South Sudan, uses an iPhone to examine a patient’s throat. He had developed symptoms of Hepatitis E a month prior, but only came to the clinic after he had tried traditional medicine and saw no improvement. MSF responded to an outbreak of deadly Hepatitis E in the camp in February; there is no cure but symptoms are treatable. Photo by Shannon Jensen

An MSF doctor in Batil camp, South Sudan, uses an iPhone to examine a patient’s throat. He had developed symptoms of Hepatitis E a month prior, but only came to the clinic after he had tried traditional medicine and saw no improvement. MSF responded to an outbreak of deadly Hepatitis E in the camp in February; there is no cure but symptoms are treatable. Photo by Shannon Jensen

Photo: Patients in the waiting area at Koutiala Hospital in Mali. Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden
Conference Briefing Paper: Medical Innovations for Neglected PatientsThere are three fundamental problems with medical innovation today. 
First, global public health needs are not in the driving seat. Regardless of how great the needs may be, where commercial potential is weak, there is little “pull” to develop new technologies. The innovation cycle is broken, with few or no incentives for the development of effective, safe, quality, suitable and affordable health technologies—leading to needless suffering and death. 
Second, as a result, developing countries must often “make do” with innovation that primarily caters to conditions in developed countries. Medical tools are too often developed first for developed countries and only rolled out in resource limited settings in a second stage. 
Third, even when there is enough of a profit incentive to drive innovation—for example when diseases affect both developed and developing countries alike—the resulting products are too often priced out of reach. 
Medical innovation must aim to change practice, for the benefit of patients. But ideas, knowledge and inventions can only benefit patients who have access to the fruits of innovation. What is needed, therefore, is not just innovation—but both innovation and access.
Download the full report here.

Photo: Patients in the waiting area at Koutiala Hospital in Mali. Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden

Conference Briefing Paper: Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients
There are three fundamental problems with medical innovation today. 

First, global public health needs are not in the driving seat. Regardless of how great the needs may be, where commercial potential is weak, there is little “pull” to develop new technologies. The innovation cycle is broken, with few or no incentives for the development of effective, safe, quality, suitable and affordable health technologies—leading to needless suffering and death. 

Second, as a result, developing countries must often “make do” with innovation that primarily caters to conditions in developed countries. Medical tools are too often developed first for developed countries and only rolled out in resource limited settings in a second stage. 

Third, even when there is enough of a profit incentive to drive innovation—for example when diseases affect both developed and developing countries alike—the resulting products are too often priced out of reach. 

Medical innovation must aim to change practice, for the benefit of patients. But ideas, knowledge and inventions can only benefit patients who have access to the fruits of innovation. What is needed, therefore, is not just innovation—but both innovation and access.

Download the full report here.

You’ll hear using the phrase “treatment is prevention” often this week as we report from the International AIDS Conference, so we thought we would explain what that means. Learn more about the profound implications of this scientific breakthrough.

You’ll hear using the phrase “treatment is prevention” often this week as we report from the International AIDS Conference, so we thought we would explain what that means.
Learn more about the profound implications of this scientific breakthrough.

Fighting Neglect: Chagas:

Chagas is a parasitic disease found on the American continent, where it affects an estimated 8 to 10 million people and claims up to 12,500 lives every year.

Learn more about Chagas and other neglected diseases.

If new evidence of similar magnitude of mortality reduction was found for a major childhood killer in Europe or the USA, and the new treatment cost just an extra $2, there would be a clear plan to ensure a rapid change in policy and practice. With over 2000 deaths from severe malaria every day, the need for a coordinated international response to support African countries to make the switch is clear.
Nathan Ford, the medical coordinator for MSF’s International Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines in MSF on World Malaria Day: Improving treatment for severe malaria