• Beauty and the beast.

      Cox, H; Isles, S; Médecins Sans Frontières, 7 Ganges Street, Maitama, Abuja, Nigeria. helenscox@yahoo.com.au (Elsevier, 2003-01)
    • Burden of disease and circulating serotypes of rotavirus infection in sub-Saharan Africa: systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Sanchez-Padilla, Elisabeth; Grais, Rebecca F; Guerin, Philippe J; Steele, Andrew D; Burny, Marie-Eve; Luquero, Francisco J; Epicentre, Research Unit, Paris, France. elisabeth.sanchez@epicentre.msf.org (2009-09-09)
      Two new rotavirus vaccines have recently been licensed in many countries. However, their efficacy has only been shown against certain serotypes commonly circulating in Europe, North America, and Latin America, but thought to be globally important. To assess the potential impact of these vaccines in sub-Saharan Africa, where rotavirus mortality is high, knowledge of prevalent types is essential because an effective rotavirus vaccine is needed to protect against prevailing serotypes in the community. We did two systematic reviews and two meta-analyses of the most recent published data on the burden of rotavirus disease in children aged under 5 years and rotavirus serotypes circulating in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Eligible studies were selected from PubMed/Medline, Cochrane Library, EmBase, LILACS, Academic Search Premier, Biological Abstracts, ISI Web of Science, and the African Index Medicus. Depending on the heterogeneity, DerSimonian-Laird random-effects or fixed-effects models were used for meta-analyses. Geographical variability in rotavirus burden within countries in sub-Saharan Africa is substantial, and most countries lack information on rotavirus epidemiology. We estimated that annual mortality for this region was 243.3 (95% CI 187.6-301.7) deaths per 100,000 under 5 years (ie, a total of 300,000 children die of rotavirus infection in this region each year). The most common G type detected was G1 (34.9%), followed by G2 (9.1%), and G3 (8.6%). The most common P types detected were P[8] (35.5%) and P[6] (27.5%). Accurate information should be collected from surveillance based on standardised methods in these countries to obtain comparable data on the burden of disease and the circulating strains to assess the potential impact of vaccine introduction.
    • Cryptococcal meningitis: improving access to essential antifungal medicines in resource-poor countries

      Loyse, Angela; Thangaraj, Harry; Easterbrook, Philippa; Ford, Nathan; Roy, Monika; Chiller, Tom; Govender, Nelesh; Harrison, Thomas S; Bicanic, Tihana; Cryptococcal Meningitis Group, Research Centre for Infection and Immunity, Division of Clinical Sciences, St George's University of London, UK. (Elsevier, 2013-05-31)
      Cryptococcal meningitis is the leading cause of adult meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa, and contributes up to 20% of AIDS-related mortality in low-income and middle-income countries every year. Antifungal treatment for cryptococcal meningitis relies on three old, off-patent antifungal drugs: amphotericin B deoxycholate, flucytosine, and fluconazole. Widely accepted treatment guidelines recommend amphotericin B and flucytosine as first-line induction treatment for cryptococcal meningitis. However, flucytosine is unavailable in Africa and most of Asia, and safe amphotericin B administration requires patient hospitalisation and careful laboratory monitoring to identify and treat common side-effects. Therefore, fluconazole monotherapy is widely used in low-income and middle-income countries for induction therapy, but treatment is associated with significantly increased rates of mortality. We review the antifungal drugs used to treat cryptococcal meningitis with respect to clinical effectiveness and access issues specific to low-income and middle-income countries. Each drug poses unique access challenges: amphotericin B through cost, toxic effects, and insufficiently coordinated distribution; flucytosine through cost and scarcity of registration; and fluconazole through challenges in maintenance of local stocks-eg, sustainability of donations or insufficient generic supplies. We advocate ten steps that need to be taken to improve access to safe and effective antifungal therapy for cryptococcal meningitis.
    • Mycobacterium ulcerans infection: control, diagnosis, and treatment.

      Sizaire, V; Nackers, F; Comte, E; Portaels, F; Médecins Sans Frontières, London, UK. vinciane.sizaire@london.msf.org (Elsevier, 2006-05)
      The skin disease Buruli ulcer, caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is the third most common mycobacterial disease after tuberculosis and leprosy and mainly affects remote rural African communities. Although the disease is known to be linked to contaminated water, the mode of transmission is not yet understood, which makes it difficult to propose control interventions. The disease is usually detected in its later stages, when it has caused substantial damage and disability. Surgery remains the treatment of choice. Although easy and effective in the early stages of the disease, treatment requires extended excisions and long hospitalisation for the advanced forms of the disease. Currently, no antibiotic treatment has proven effective for all forms of M ulcerans infection and research into a new vaccine is urgently needed. While the scientific community works on developing non-invasive and rapid diagnostic tools, the governments of endemic countries should implement active case finding and health education strategies in their affected communities to detect the disease in its early stages. We review the diagnosis, treatment, and control of Buruli ulcer and list priorities for research and development.
    • Protection Against Cholera From Killed Whole-Cell Oral Cholera Vaccines: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

      Bi, Q; Ferreras, E; Pezzoli, L; Legros, D; Ivers, L; Date, K; Qadri, F; Digilio, L; Sack, D; Ali, M; et al. (The Lancet, 2017-07-17)
      Killed whole-cell oral cholera vaccines (kOCVs) are becoming a standard cholera control and prevention tool. However, vaccine efficacy and direct effectiveness estimates have varied, with differences in study design, location, follow-up duration, and vaccine composition posing challenges for public health decision making. We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to generate average estimates of kOCV efficacy and direct effectiveness from the available literature.
    • Treatment options for visceral leishmaniasis: a systematic review of clinical studies done in India, 1980-2004.

      Olliaro, P L; Guerin, P J; Gerstl, S; Haaskjold, A A; Rottingen, J A; Sundar, S; UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland. olliarop@who.int (Elsevier, 2005-12)
      The state of Bihar in India carries the largest share of the world's burden of antimony-resistant visceral leishmaniasis. We analysed clinical studies done in Bihar with different treatments between 1980 and 2004. Overall, 53 studies were included (all but one published), of which 15 were comparative (randomised, quasi-randomised, or non-randomised), 23 dose-finding, and 15 non-comparative. Data from comparative studies were pooled when appropriate for meta-analysis. Overall, these studies enrolled 7263 patients in 123 treatment arms. Adequacy of methods used to do the studies and report on them varied. Unresponsiveness to antimony has developed steadily in the past to such an extent that antimony must now be replaced, despite attempts to stop its progression by increasing dose and duration of therapy. The classic second-line treatments are unsuited: pentamidine is toxic and its efficacy has also declined, and amphotericin B deoxycholate is effective but requires hospitalisation for long periods and toxicity is common. Liposomal amphotericin B is very effective and safe but currently unaffordable because of its high price. Miltefosine-the first oral drug for visceral leishmaniasis-is now registered and marketed in India and is effective, but should be used under supervision to prevent misuse. Paromomycin (or aminosidine) is effective and safe, and although not yet available, a regulatory submission is due soon. To preserve the limited armamentarium of drugs to treat visceral leishmaniasis, drugs should not be deployed unprotected; combinations can make drugs last longer, improve treatment, and reduce costs to households and health systems. India, Bangladesh, and Nepal agreed recently to undertake measures towards the elimination of visceral leishmaniasis. The lessons learnt in Bihar could help inform policy decisions both regionally and elsewhere.
    • The urgent need for clinical, diagnostic, and operational research for management of Buruli ulcer in Africa

      O'Brien, Daniel P; Comte, Eric; Serafini, Micaela; Ehounou, Geneviève; Antierens, Annick; Vuagnat, Hubert; Christinet, Vanessa; Hamani, Mitima D; du Cros, Philipp; Manson Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, London, UK; Department of Infectious Diseases, Geelong Hospital, Geelong, VIC, Australia; Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address: daniel.obrien@amsterdam.msf.org. (Elsevier, 2013-12-02)
      Despite great advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Buruli ulcer, it is one of the least studied major neglected tropical diseases. In Africa, major constraints in the management of Buruli ulcer relate to diagnosis and treatment, and accessibility, feasibility, and delivery of services. In this Personal View, we outline key areas for clinical, diagnostic, and operational research on this disease in Africa and propose a research agenda that aims to advance the management of Buruli ulcer in Africa. A model of care is needed to increase early case detection, to diagnose the disease accurately, to simplify and improve treatment, to reduce side-effects of treatment, to deal with populations with HIV and tuberculosis appropriately, to decentralise care, and to scale up coverage in populations at risk. This approach will require commitment and support to strategically implement research by national Buruli ulcer programmes and international technical and donor organisations, combined with adaptations in programme design and advocacy. A critical next step is to build consensus for a research agenda with WHO and relevant groups experienced in Buruli ulcer care or related diseases, and we call on on them to help to turn this agenda into reality.