Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology

30 January

World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

News

World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

More than one billion people worldwide are at risk of illness, disfigurement, disability, and even death from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Especially in the poorest regions of the world where access to clean water, sanitary facilities and health care is restricted for many people, viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi or even poisonous snakes have an easy game. The consequences are serious diseases such as river blindness or sleeping sickness, dengue fever, leprosy, or the effects of snakebites. Since these diseases rarely endanger people in industrialised countries or travellers, they are often neglected in terms of funding for research and therapies.

Africa is one of the regions where neglected tropical diseases occur as “widespread diseases”. “They are often among the most common causes of disease in the affected countries,” says the deputy coordinator of the DZIF research area Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, Prof. Achim Hörauf from University Hospital Bonn.

Continue readingDZIF link

DNTDs calls for action plan to tackle neglected tropical diseases

"To effectively tackle neglected tropical diseases, we need safer, simpler and more effective treatments that are affordable and available to people. We call on the German government to provide more support for efforts to develop and disseminate diagnoses, treatments and vaccinations to combat neglected tropical diseases and to elaborate and implement the commitments made (e.g. on the occasion of the Kigali Declaration) into an action plan for research and development," explains Prof. Dr Achim Hörauf, spokesperson of the German Network against Neglected Tropical Diseases, Director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology at Bonn University Hospital.

Continue reading: DNTDs Press release

The Search for New Treatments Against Filariasis

For over 20 years, scientists at the IMMIP, together with their collaboration partners at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Ghana (KCCR), have worked together to develop new treatments for river blindness, also known as onchocerciasis, and lymphatic filariasis; two diseases caused by filarial worms that are major causes of disability in low-/middle-income countries.
Prof. Achim Hoerauf (Director IMMIP), Prof. Alexander Debrah and Dr. Linda Debrah (KCCR/ KNUST), together with other scientists from Bonn: Dr. Ute Klarmann-Schulz and Dr. Kenneth Pfarr have been collaborating with KCCR in clinical trials to fight river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.

 

The Search for New Treatment for River Blindness

The World Health Organization estimates that 1.15 million people have lost their vision due to river blindness, while 220 million require preventive therapy against onchocerciasis. For over 25 years, the Institute of Medical Microbiology Immunology and Parasitology, at the University Hospital Bonn and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, in Kumasi Ghana have been conduction clinical trials in river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. Prof. Achim Hoerauf and his long-term research partner and friend Prof. Alexander Debrah filmed a short documentary on their work in Ghana. In addition to showing the work done in the field, positive feedback from the community members is also captured in the documentary.

Watch video

 

 

Development of the antibiotic Corallopyronin A against filariasis

More than 72 million people in the tropics are infected with the nematodes Onchocerca volvulus, Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi. Infections with these worms can lead to severe dermatitis and blindness or elephantiasis - a disease in which the legs in particular become extremely enlarged. In dogs, a similar parasite can cause life-threatening canine heartworm disease. With the natural compound Corallopyronin A, Prof. Achim Hörauf and his team at the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP) of the UKB found an active substance that kills the long-lived worms and can thus stop or heal the devastating consequences. Continue reading...

A team of experts at Capgemini, in collaboration with University Hospital Bonn and Amazon Web Services, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that will accelerate the speed of clinical trials aiming to establish new treatments for River Blindness, a neglected tropical disease which affects over 20 million people globally. Currently, the specialist work of clinical trials can only be carried out manually by a handful of global experts, so the winning model could save years of work and speed up the development of new treatments.Continue reading

 

Once the worm has gotten in

Considering that the 68 million people who suffer from lymphatic filariasis, manifested by lymphedema, elephantiasis and/or hydrocele, and the 21 million who suffer from river blindness live almost exclusively in the most remote areas of Africa and Southeast Asia.  Which are regions where the pharmaceutical industry cannot make high profits. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the last 30 years, less than 0.1% of newly developed drugs have been effective against tropical diseases, pointed out Prof. Achim Hoerauf. Read full article

First National Conference on Podoconiosis in Cameroon

Despite its significant public health burden, morbidity and stigmatization, podoconiosis remains a disease with no specific global health program, as a result the disease is only visible in the shadow of programs of lymphatic filariasis or skin NTDs. The first national conference was therefore organized to highlight the results of earlier works carried out this far and also set the stage for an advocacy for a tropical disease that is considered very neglected.