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Discovery & Development Drug Discovery, Business Practice

Putting Sleeping Sickness to Bed

In 1990, serious inequalities in global R&D were highlighted in a report penned by The Commission on Health Research for Development. According to the independent healthcare body, the world’s poorest nations accounted for up to 90 percent of the global disease burden – but only 10 percent of research was geared toward treating the conditions that caused such significant morbidity and mortality (1). Three decades have passed since these findings were first published, and the international community has made strong efforts to address the disparity that exists between healthcare systems and to find solutions to the treatment of neglected diseases.

HAT screening in Yalikombo. A DNDi-supported mobile sleeping sickness team had set up in Yalikombo. They can screen up to 400 a people a day. This time they planned to screen 2000 people over 4-5 days. They arrived to the village by dugout canoe because only motorcycles can make it by road. They set up tents in the village square and will stay in the village until everyone is screened. Villagers first register and then receive a blood prick for antibody screening. Blood is taken from a finger than run through the CATT: the Card Agglutination Test for Trypanosomiasis. Samples that test positive for HAT antibodies are sent to the next stage in the screening process. Their lymph nodes are checked and they receive a venous blood test – reagent is added and further tests are run, with multiple lab techs looking at the same sample. If the case is positive, the mobile team gives a spinal tap to the patient to determine which stage he patient is at. Credit: Neil Brandvold-DNDi

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About the Author

Maryam Mahdi

Associate Editor

After finishing my degree, I envisioned a career in science communications. However, life took an unexpected turn and I ended up teaching abroad. Though the experience was amazing and I learned a great deal from it, I jumped at the opportunity to work for Texere. I'm excited to see where this new journey takes me!

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