News and activities of the International Institute of Medicine and Science Asean Chapter of IIMS, Inc. California, USA - Health care, Life Science, Education, Research, Philanthropy. Asean is the economic organization of ten countries located in South East Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
India – USA - Phase I Trial For Leishmaniasis Vaccine Underway
A vaccine against one of the most neglected
yet fatal tropical diseases is being tested for the first time in a clinical trial
in India and the United States.
vaccine against one of the most neglected yet fatal tropical diseases is being
tested for the first time in a clinical trial in India and the United States.
After malaria, leishmaniasis is the second largest parasitic killer, and the
visceral form is the most deadly.
leishmaniasis (VL) kills 50,000 persons per year, 70 percent of them children.
It can be treated but the costs are too high… at hundreds of US dollars per
person,” said Dr. Franco Piazza at the Infectious Disease Research Institute
(IDRI), a Seattle-based NGO that developed the vaccine with funding from the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
also called kala-azar or black fever, infects an estimated
half million persons or more annually. It is found most commonly in India,
Nepal, Bangladesh, Brazil, and Sudan.
leishmaniasis group of diseases is transmitted by infected sand flies, which
carry a parasite that attacks the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Left
untreated, VL is almost always fatal, said Philippe Desjeux, a specialist in
the infection at the San Francisco-based non-profit OneWorld Health.
clinical trial testing IDRI’s vaccine is led by Gennova Pharmaceuticals – a
Pune-based Indian company to which IDRI has transferred its technology – in
collaboration with the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi.
have just opened a formulation center (research and production facility) for
vaccines against neglected diseases in Pune, said Sanjay Singh, the chief
executive officer of Gennova. “If the vaccine passes all the tests, producing
it in India will make it affordable to all the people who are affected by VL.”
infection is one of more than a dozen grouped as “neglected tropical diseases,”
occurring mostly in tropical countries where they kill an estimated half
million people annually and for which few treatments exist due to lack of
funding for research and treatment.
of 72 volunteers are participating in the trial, but scientists say it will
take years of testing to roll out an affordable vaccine to the 200 million
people globally at risk of VL infection.
most fatal in South Sudan, where poverty and conflict make even relatively
inexpensive methods like treated bed nets to protect people from infected sand
flies hard to implement.
has warned that VL is spreading to previously unaffected countries due to
co-infections of HIV and leishmaniasis, while the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) has said climate change can also spur the spread of the