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New treatments for neglected diseases from research to implementation

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3rd December 2010 marked the attendance of over 150 Indian and international health researchers, policy makers, experts from 22 countries and media personnel to support the vital cause of DNDi (drugs for neglected diseases initiative).The objective of this meeting was to introduce new treatments for neglected diseases and to transform their research to implementation. Better treatments are still desperately needed by millions of the world’s poorest people as current therapies are often toxic, prohibitively expensive, or difficult to administer, particularly in resource-poor settings. Little progress was made in the past thirty years: only 1.3% (21 out of 1,556) of new drugs developed from 1975 to 2004 were addressing neglected tropical diseases and tuberculosis even though these diseases account for 12% of the global disease burden. To facilitate the introduction of these new treatments in India and South Asia, DNDi will actively collaborate with health authorities at national and regional level. DNDi would like to implement effectiveness studies in India to demonstrate that such treatments can be feasibly and safely implemented at the primary health care setting. The Board of Directors reviewing the DNDi’s business plan until 2018 agreed to consider extension of the R&D portfolio to address specific areas of need into two new diseases. These mini portfolios of research could include the development of new drugs to treat patients infected with onchocerciasis/ river blindness who cannot be treated with currently available drugs, and the development of paediatric formulations of HIV anti retroviral drugs. In India, DNDi is successfully conducting several projects with Indian partners both from the public and the private sector and at different stages of R&D drug development with the objective to develop new treatments and to use and strengthen existing research capacities for neglected diseases.

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