South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer, HIV

SOUTH AFRICA – United States-based multinational conglomerate NantWorks has entered into an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) for the transfer of manufacturing technology for Covid-19 and cancer vaccines and next-generation cell-based immunotherapies. This is a major boost to the country’s healthcare system in its efforts to treat infectious diseases such as cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and, more recently, Covid-19. As of 2019, South Africa had 7.5 million people living with HIV, 200,000 new HIV infections and 72,000 AIDS-related…

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Ethiopia receives US$1 million worth of TB testing machines from US

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia has received a donation of 46 cutting-edge tuberculosis (TB) testing machines from the United states. The machines, which USAID estimates to be worth US$1 million, will help the government’s effort to reduce the time it takes to diagnose TB across the country from two days to two hours. USAID signed a statement of partnership agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health to accelerate our joint effort to end TB in 2019, and this donation is part of USAID’s commitment to supporting the people of Ethiopia to find…

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Covid-19 pandemic sets back fight against HIV, TB, Malaria globally

SWITZERLAND – The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in 2020, according to a new report released by the Global Fund. Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said a key lesson from the report is the urgent need for more COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries to alleviate pressure on their health systems. “The big issue is that these diseases – pandemics of the past for us – are linked to struggling health systems in countries very close to…

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Lupin, TB Alliance join hands for new therapy for drug-resistant Tuberculosis

INDIA – Non-profit drug developer TB Alliance has granted Lupin Pharmaceuticals a non-exclusive license to manufacture anti-TB drug pretomanid as part of the three-drug BPaL regimen. The Mumbai-based company said it intends to commercialise the medicine in around 140 countries and territories, including many of the highest TB burden nations around the world. “As a global leader in anti-TB medicines, Lupin is committed to enhancing access to bridge unmet needs in countries where it is needed the most. This collaboration with TB Alliance leverages our strength and expertise to contribute…

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Global Fund and Tanzania sign new US$112 million grant to support COVID-19 response

TANZANIA – Tanzania’s partnership with Global Fund has yielded a US$112 million deal to fight the COVID-19 crisis and accelerate the end of the epidemics of HIV, TB and malaria while building resilient and sustainable systems for health. The funds, channeled through the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism, will help Tanzania procure medical oxygen, increase access to COVID-19 diagnostics, protect health workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) This money will also help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV, TB and malaria services, strengthen health systems, particularly laboratory and surveillance…

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Africa CDC raises alarm over continent’s infectious diseases outbreaks

AFRICA – Africa is facing a syndemics, a combination of emerging infectious diseases, which are increasing the continents disease burden, the Africa Centers for Disease Control has announced. Dr john Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said that despite dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent is at risk due to these infectious diseases. “The African continent as a whole is facing what we call a syndemics; a combination of emerging infectious diseases. We are dealing with this pandemic, but there will be another pandemic. “Syndemics are exacerbating the disease burden across…

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BioNTech to channel COVID-19 profits toward developing new Malaria and TB shots in Africa

AFRICA – BioNTech, a Covid-19 vaccine pioneer has said it will invest some of its profits from the Covid-19 vaccine it markets with Pfizer Inc. into developing shots for malaria and tuberculosis in Africa. This is part of the German based biotechnology giant plan to establish a large production hub for innovative medicines on the continent. The firm plans to build a factory in Africa and develop a manufacturing network with local partners to transfer its technology based on messenger RNA, a genetic molecule, to a continent that has suffered…

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Nigeria achieves commendable results in fight against tuberculosis amid coronavirus pandemic

NIGERIA – Nigeria has seen an increase in annual tuberculosis (TB) case notification due to strategic intervention by the National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP), in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders working on TB control and elimination in Nigeria. In 2020 a total of 138,591 cases were notified;15 % higher compared to 106,533 and 120,266cases notified in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Also, comparing first quarters of 2019, 2020, 2021 case notification are 28,823, 33,132 and 43,838 (32% increase in Q1 2021 compared to…

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UNDP grants US$103 million to help Angola fight Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis

ANGOLA – The United Nations injected a sum of US$103.2 million into Angola’s health system for the period 2021-2024, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Angolan Health Ministry said in a joint statement. According to the statement, the new global fund will pay to combat malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, especially in the southern provinces of Benguela and Cuanza Sul. With regard to malaria, the fund aims to reduce the number of deaths from 26 to 19 per 100 inhabitants, ensure at least 90 percent of the population in…

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WHO calls upon interested pharmaceutical companies to consider developing new TB vaccines

WORLD – In an open letter, Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, director, WHO Global TB Programme, addressed the need to have a vaccine that is functional to adults and adolescents as well. Dr. Tereza has challenged the need for political commitments to be increase as it was the case for the development of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO is also joining partners, civil society and affected people & communities around the world in calling for increased and sustained investments in TB vaccine development. The only existing vaccine, BCG was developed in 1921, 100 years…

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