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Two New Malaria Treatments Available In 2006

IN THIS ISSUE

  1. The U.S. Presidential Malaria Initiative for Africa
  2. Two New Malaria Treatments Available In 2006
  3. OMS Registra Progresso no Combate à Malária

EDITOR: Manuel F. Lluberas
Vector Control Systems Manager
H.D. HUDSON MANUFACTURING COMPANY

U.S. Jumpstarts the President's Malaria Initiative and Ushers in Expanded Resources for Angola and Tanzania
December 15, 2005
1215-05-126
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810
www.usaid.gov/iraq

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that, barely six months after the unveiling of the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), the first major activities under the program began this week in Angola and will start next week in Tanzania.

Announced June 30, 2005, the President's Malaria Initiative is an unprecedented commitment in the fight against malaria, dedicating $1.2 billion over five years to combat the disease. Malaria kills more than 1 million people every year, the vast majority of whom are African children.

"The new malaria programs beginning in Angola and Tanzania are a result of the President's extraordinary leadership and commitment to fighting this deadly disease," said Dr. Kent R. Hill, Assistant Administrator for USAID's Bureau for Global Health. "This is a significant step to protect children and their families where malaria is the biggest killer of children and a leading cause of death among adults too. We are working at unprecedented speed to save as many lives as possible."

On December 13, USAID began a large-scale indoor residual spraying campaign in Angola's southern province of Huila. The campaign, which will continue through March 2006, targets 100,000 households and more than 500,000 people. Leading up to the start of spraying, local Angolan workers were trained on how to use the spraying apparatus and in applying insecticide.

Immediately after spraying begins in Angola, USAID on December 19 will launch the President's Malaria Initiative in Tanzania, starting with the purchase and distribution of 130,000 insecticide-treated bed nets in Zanzibar. The activity will target the most vulnerable populations, primarily pregnant women and young children.

In addition, on the heels of Angola and Tanzania, the President's Malaria Initiative will launch in Uganda in January 2006, beginning with the distribution of 270,000 insecticide-treated bed nets for women and children.

All country launch activities are considered the first phase of comprehensive malaria programs, which will include indoor residual spraying and insecticide-treated bed nets for prevention, medical interventions to address malaria in pregnancy, and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies. Robust monitoring and evaluation activities will be conducted in all countries to regularly measure progress towards objectives and, in particular, to estimate the reduction in malaria-related deaths as the result of malaria prevention and treatment programs.

After significantly increasing resources for malaria in Angola, Tanzania and Uganda, the President's Malaria Initiative will expand to four more highly-endemic

African countries by 2007, and five more by 2008. By 2010, the U.S. government will provide an additional $500 million per year for malaria prevention and treatment. This effort will eventually cover more than 175 million people in 15 of the most affected African countries.

USAID is the lead U.S. government agency for implementation of the President's Malaria Initiative, and works in collaboration with other federal partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two New Malaria Treatments Available In 2006
By: Medical News Today (press release) Dec 29, 2005

First medicines developed by Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) will be easier to use and less expensive than current ACTs, but action is needed to make sure the treatments reach patients.

Two new, non-patented malaria treatments will be available in the global fight against the disease by the second half of 2006, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced today at 54th annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Conference.

The fixed-dose, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) - artesunate/amodiaquine (AS/AQ) and artesunate/mefloquine (AS/MQ) - will be easier to use and less expensive than current ACTs, and will also be available in pediatric formulations. DNDi's innovative FACT Project (fixed-dose, artemisinin-based combination therapy) has brought together academic, public and private partners from around the world to address the need for more effective tools to battle malaria. These two new ACTs are the first medicines developed by DNDi since its inception in 2003.

"These two, new fixed-dose combinations have been adapted to patients' needs - they are more affordable and easier to use,” said Dr. Bernard Pecoul, Executive Director of DNDi. "The fact that they are not under patent removes a significant barrier to their availability and should serve as a model for future drug development for neglected diseases.”

Because increasing resistance has rendered common anti-malarials like chloroquine ineffective, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of ACTs since 2001. To date, 43 sub-Saharan countries have adopted ACTs in their malaria treatment protocols, but only 15 have actually begun to implement the change, and only a handful have done so on a national level.

"In our projects worldwide, MSF has seen that patients urgently need safe, effective, affordable malaria treatments, and a fixed-dose combination leads to better adherence,”said Dr. Unni Karunakara, Medical Director of the Médecins Sans Frontiès;res' (MSF's) Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines.

Today, even though many countries have changed their national protocols to ACT, very few patients are actually receiving the treatment. The problem in tackling malaria now is no longer medical, technical, or scientific - it is political.”

High cost and procurement problems on the local and regional levels have so far prevented wider access to ACTs. The cost of the new fixed-dose treatments from DNDi could be up to 50% less than existing ACTs, with the target price for the new AS/MQ formulation being $2-$2.50 US for adults and $1-$1.50 US for children. For the AS/AQ formulation, which is being produced by sanofi aventis, the target price will be $1US for adults and $0.50 US for children.

"We have to find ways to make the price of these new medicines, and ACTs in general, comparable to the cost of chloroquine,” said Professor Nick White, Professor of Tropical Medicine at OxfordUniversity. "A subsidized fund could be one solution, but it is clear that the international community has to take immediate steps to fund the fight against malaria with medicines that work.”

DNDi background

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is an independent, not-for-profit drug development initiative established in 2003 by MSF and six other founding partners, including public sector research institutions from Brazil, Kenya, Malaysia, and India as well as the Institut Pasteur in France and the World Health Organization's Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) program.

With a current portfolio of 20 projects, DNDi aims to develop new, improved, and field-relevant drugs for neglected diseases - such as leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, and Chagas disease - that afflict the very poor in developing countries.

DNDi also raises awareness about the need for greater R&D for neglected diseases and strengthens existing research capacity in disease-endemic countries. For further information, please consult www.dndi.org

OMS registra progresso no combate à malária
From BBC, Brasil

Mais pessoas estão tendo acesso a serviços de prevenção e tratamento contra a malária, segundo um relatório divulgado nesta terça-feira pela Organização Mundial da Saúde (OMS) e o Unicef (fundo da ONU para infância e adolescência). O levantamento – o primeiro sobre a doença em escala mundial – indica que houve progresso no combate contra a malária desde 2000.

Mais pessoas estariam protegidas com as redes tratadas com inseticida – um método eficaz de prevenção contra a malária – e muitas estão sendo tratadas com remédios novos no mercado.

Na África, região onde há maior incidência da doença, aumentou em dez vezes o número de redes distribuídas nos últimos três anos. Na Zâmbia, por exemplo, pelo menos 80% das crianças com menos de cinco anos de idade já dormem sob as redes. "Muitos países estão evoluindo em seus programas de controle da malária e mesmo aqueles com recursos limitados e alta incidência da doença agora têm uma melhor oportunidade de combatê-la", disse Lee Jong-Wook, diretor-geral da OMS.

Em função da dificuldade em coletar informações em muitos dos países afetados pela doença, o relatório diz que ainda é muito cedo para apresentar números exatos sobre as recentes campanhas de prevenção.

Metas do Milênio

Mas o relatório da OMS e do Unicef não traz apenas boas notícias sobre o combate à malária – doença que mata um milhão de pessoas a cada ano. "A malária ainda é a doença infecciosa que tira mais vidas de crianças na África do que qualquer outra. Mata três vezes mais do que o HIV", destacou Ann M. Veneman, diretora-executiva do Unicef.

"Se quisermos reduzir dramaticamente as mortes de crianças na próxima década, precisamos focar mais no combate à malária." As Metas de Desenvolvimento do Milênio, traçadas pela ONU, incluem a redução da incidência de malária na população mundial. Porém, o relatório diz que o maior obstáculo para atingir tal meta é a falta de recursos financeiros.

Seriam necessários US$ 3,3 bilhões por ano para combater a doença nos 82 países onde há o maior números de infectados. Neste ano, contudo, US$ 600 milhões foram destinados para o controle da malária.

De acordo com o levantamento, desde 2003 entre 350 e 500 milhões de pessoas ao redor do mundo foram infectadas com a malária.