India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

India has been witnessing a surge in cases in many States. There is no reason to believe that the variant will behave differently in India or that Indians have some unknown shield of protection against the virus. The Omicron variant is galloping across the U.S. and many countries in Europe at a pace never seen … Continue reading India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

China was severely criticised for the long delay in sharing information and posting the genome sequence data. But when South Africa and Botswana diligently posted the sequence data on the public database, they were penalised. What incentive will countries have in sharing data on a timely fashion. If China was severely criticised for keeping the … Continue reading Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

mRNA vaccine manufacturers loathe to share know-how

Moderna, which was funded $1 billion for research by the U.S. government, said in October 2020 that it will not enforce COVID-19-related patents against those making vaccines intended to combat the pandemic. But the company has refused to transfer technology to the South African hub to manufacture its mRNA vaccines for distribution to the African … Continue reading mRNA vaccine manufacturers loathe to share know-how

Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

After promising on multiple occasions that Oxford vaccine will be provided on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries, AstraZeneca came up with riders while signing an agreement with Brazil. And Serum Institute has been brazenly violating the spirit of the agreement … Continue reading Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

Editorial: An ominous situation

That the medicine chest is bereft of effective new drugs to fight the extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) strain has once again become frighteningly clear. According to a study published recently in The Lancet, while only 16 per cent (17 of the 107) of a South African patient cohort had either treatment cure or completion at … Continue reading Editorial: An ominous situation

‘Long-term outcomes in South African patients with XDR-TB poor’

Long-term outcomes in South African patients who have extremely-drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) are “poor” immaterial of HIV status, notes a paper published on January 17 in The Lancet . Despite treatment outcomes being poor, “substantial number” of XDR-TB patients who were still infected were discharged from hospitals in spite of failing treatment. With the median … Continue reading ‘Long-term outcomes in South African patients with XDR-TB poor’

‘Nuances of childhood TB are never taught in medical schools’

If diagnosing tuberculosis in children, particularly those aged under five years, is fraught with problems, health-care workers at different levels who are unaware of the latest advancements in childhood TB diagnosis and treatment make it even worse. “Tuberculosis is a part of the training programme when doctors go through a M.D course. So a basic … Continue reading ‘Nuances of childhood TB are never taught in medical schools’

Second-line TB drugs: ‘It is more difficult to assess adverse effects in children’

  Prof. H. Simon Schaaf,  a clinical researcher from the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Stellenbosch University, South Africa has worked extensively on childhood TB and multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in children. Last year he was awarded an A-rating by the National Research Foundation, South Africa. … Continue reading Second-line TB drugs: ‘It is more difficult to assess adverse effects in children’

‘Children metabolise TB drugs much faster than adults’

  Dr. Peter R. Donald, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa was awarded an A-rating by the National Research Foundation, South Africa. An A-rating is the highest award given to scientists by the Foundation. He was also awarded the Union … Continue reading ‘Children metabolise TB drugs much faster than adults’

Malnourished children in India below three years are underdosed for first-line TB drugs

“The ultimate goal of evidence-based drug treatment is to produce a desired pharmacological response in a predictable manner and also to minimise adverse effects,” notes a June 2013 paper published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. The two goals can be achieved only when the correct therapeutic drug dosage of anti-TB drugs … Continue reading Malnourished children in India below three years are underdosed for first-line TB drugs