Nobel prize for the artemisinin and ivermectin discoveries: a great boost towards elimination of the global infectious diseases of poverty
Infectious Diseases of Poverty volume 4, Article number: 58 (2015) Cite this articleDownload PDF
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made a marked transformation for neglected and vulnerable communities in the developing countries from the start, but infectious diseases of poverty (IDoPs) continue to inflict a disproportionate global public health burden with associated consequences, thereby contributing to the vicious cycle of poverty and inequity. However, the effectiveness and large-scale coverage of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) have revolutionized malaria treatment just as the control of lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis have benefitted from harnessing the broad-spectrum effect of avermectin-based derivatives. The paradigm shift in therapeutic approach, effected by these two drugs and their impact on community-based interventions of parasitic diseases plaguing the endemic low- and middle-income countries (LIMCs), led to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015. However, the story would not be complete without mentioning praziquantel. The huge contribution of this drug in modernizing the control of schistosomiasis and also some intestinal helminth infections had already shifted the focus from control to potential elimination of this disease. Together, these new drugs have provided humankind with powerful new tools for the alleviation of infectious diseases that humans have lived with since time immemorial. These drugs all have broad-spectrum effects, yet they are very safe and can even be packaged together in various combinations. The strong effect on so many of the great infectious scourges in the developing countries has not only had a remarkable influence on many endemic diseases, but also contributed to improving the cost structure of healthcare. Significant benefits include improved quality of preventive and curative medicine, promotion of community-based interventions, universal health coverage and the fostering of global partnerships. The laudable progress and benefits achieved are indispensable in championing, strengthening and moving forward elimination of the IDoPs. However, there is an urgent need for further innovative, contextual and integrated approaches along with the advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), replacing the MDGs in ensuring global health security, well-being and economic prosperity for all.
Continue reading from the PDF document below: