We have great news to share in the world of NTDs! GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a UK-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company, has created a Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit in efforts to control and eliminate NTDs once and for all. The purpose of the unit includes developing the capacity worldwide to implement NTD intervention programs and also acting as a “not-for-profit” entity leveraging GSK’s operating capabilities and infrastructure.
GSK has played an active role in helping to eliminate these diseases of poverty. In 2009, the company created a patent pool that allows wider access to intellectual property for NTD work and research. Also, just last year, GSK expanded its albendazole donation program which was recently updated last month.
The unit came about after a team within GSK, the Future Strategy Group, reviewed high risk areas such as urban slums, rural areas, and conflict zones that are commonly affected by NTDs. The unit will bring together GSK’s existing programmes and create new partnerships with NGOs, commercial companies, Governments and other groups. In the beginning, focus will be placed on ensuring global access to medicines for five disease areas where treatments already exist: onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and soil-transmitted helminths. The unit will also scale-up already existing GSK NTD activities such as drug and vaccine research and development. Furthermore, a pilot program will be integrated using community partnerships that will serve children and tackle the root cause of NTDs. Finally, the group will campaign to increase awareness of the burden of NTDs.
This is an amazing advancement for the fight against NTDs. Here at End the Neglect, we are encouraged by such progress and hope to see more in the future. To do your part in combating these diseases of poverty, please visit our Get Involved page.