February 22nd, 2012
By: Carolanne Wright
Homeopathic medicine has a long, successful history of prevention and treatment of illness without harmful side effects. Documentation spanning several centuries has shown the incredible effectiveness of homeopathy during some of the most deadly epidemics in history.
Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician in the 1800s, is considered the father of homeopathy. Dr. Hahnemann, a man deeply rooted in the scientific method, critically condemned the medical practices of the day such as bloodletting and purging with medicines made with mercury, lead, and arsenic. He discovered the “Law of Similars” while researching cinchona bark which is used to treat malaria. Hahnemann, in perfect health, began taking this Peruvian bark two times a day for several days. He reported that he began showing identical symptoms to malaria. Upon conclusion of the experiment, he realized medicinal substances create symptoms in healthy people that were almost identical to the diseases they were meant to treat. This was the beginning of Dr. Hahnemann’s distinguished career in homeopathy which lead to widespread acceptance of his method around the world.
Epidemics: Fertile ground for the usefulness of homeopathy
Homeopathic medicine has been used successfully by Hahnemann and others for treatment during some of the most devastating epidemics in history. During the European Typhus Epidemic of 1813, those treated in homeopathic hospitals had a mortality rate of less than 1 percent while those treated with allopathic medicine had a mortality rate well over 30 percent. Documentation for the Russian Cholera Epidemic of 1831 confirmed a death rate of under 10 percent for those treated homeopathically while conventional treatments had a death rate of up to 80 percent.
During the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 that claimed the lives of millions, homeopathic hospitals had a remarkably low mortality rate. Twenty-six thousand cases of the flu were treated homeopathically with 1.05 percent mortality rate while the 24,000 cases that were treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2 percent. Gelsemium was the most commonly used remedy for the H1N1 influenza virus of the pandemic.
Hahnemann was inspired to use homeopathic medicine as a preventative while treating several ailing children in two families. The first family had three children out of four who were ill with scarlet fever. The fourth, who was taking Belladonna for a finger joint problem at the time, remained free from the illness.
Shortly after, a family with eight children, three of which were already infected with scarlet fever, requested Dr. Hahnemann’s expertise to help protect the other five children. Once again, he used Belladonna with positive result. All five children escaped the illness even though they were exposed repeatedly to their unwell siblings. After observing the protective effects of Belladonna against scarlet fever, Hahnemann continued to use this remedy with extraordinary success during epidemics.
Additional disease prevented by homeopathy
During a 1902 smallpox outbreak in Iowa, a Dr. Eaton reported that 2806 people were given Variolinum as a preventative. The rate of protection was an astounding 97 percent which was unheard of in allopathic medicine.
The British Medical Journal reported that during the 1974 meningitis outbreak in Brazil, those who were given Menigococcium prophylaxis were protected from developing the disease 23 more times than those who did not receive treatment.
Homeopathic medicine has also been shown to be astonishingly effective in preventing polio. In several studies involving over 11,000 children, Lathyrus Sativus was given as a ‘vaccine’ against the disease. Not a single case of polio was reported nor were there any documented side effects.
As safe alternative to conventional medicine, homeopathy is remarkably beneficial in preventing and treating many of the most dangerous communicable diseases known to man.
February 1, 2012
By Heather Callaghan
It is the writer’s hope that this last installment of our Lyme series connects people to real help in getting their lives back from this menacing, covered-up disease. The first part delves into complications of detection and the last part into things to be careful for and some real options for relief.
The corrupted Infectious Diseases Society of America wrote guidelines on tickborne diseases that included Lyme, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis. But the rise of Babesiosis, Ehrlichia (moving through Wisconsin and Minnesota), and other newly discovered vector-borne disease are more threatening in the lack of early symptoms and undetected presence in blood supplies. So those suffering from the many tickborne infections are going to have the same runaround as Lyme victims. Those with the malaria-like Babesiosis parasite and other vector-bornes can also have Lyme and vice versa — plus a variety of debilitating co-infections.
Actually, there are around 137 different strains of Lyme and its sister tick-borne diseases, but only two are the most investigated and treated. Since it’s so shrouded in silence and ignorance, most blood banks don’t even screen for it and untold many don’t know they are infected.
One Northern US naturopath said in a phone interview that he helps with 2-3 cases per month and the clients don’t realize it’s there. Many don’t recall a tick bite, never saw the bullseye-rash, and sought his help after being diagnosed and unsuccessfully treated for Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the “incurable” neurological diseases that are alarmingly on the rise in young people. He had to help his wife with undetected Lyme, and Lyme is no longer a part of her life.
Prevention is ideal, but obviously not foolproof. It can be spread through not only ticks, but mosquitoes, blood transfusions, sexual contact, and even flies. A tick bite or rash need not be present to have Lyme. This is all crucial information denied and silenced by the IDSA mob. Imagine if the world still did not understand AIDS, and it continued to spread by these means with no help offered by conventional doctors – except for their approved drugs. Then they tell the AIDS patient, after a couple weeks, that they are cured and any issues must be in their head. That is the situation we are currently facing.
August 12th, 2011
By: PF Louis
The mainstream media is extremely one sided with its vaccine reporting. It is a PR outlet for the pharmaceutical industry, especially when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry’s sacred cow – vaccines.
A recent example is a BBC item announcing a UK research project to come up with twenty new “improved” vaccines over the next decade. As usual, the article strongly implies that those who avoid vaccinations are loony. The history of vaccine injuries and the statistics that indicate vaccines do not offer immunization are ignored by this article.
Commenting on BBC Article Highlights
The BBC article reports that a group of scientists have responded to a “call to action.” They claim AIDS and malaria vaccines as top research items with other tropical diseases being considered for more research.
Comment: There is statistical evidence that proves almost every infectious disease that medical science claimed was eliminated by vaccines had become almost non-existent by the time the particular vaccine was developed. Bugs come and go as environments change. The declining infectious disease occurrences coincide with improved plumbing, sanitation, waste removal, and general cleanliness. Bold vaccine success claims are bogus.
The BBC article quotes the scientists as saying, “We must also consider vaccines beyond classic infections, such as insulin-dependent diabetes, cancers and degenerative diseases.”
Comment: That’s interesting. They’re creating more product demand for diseases that occur mostly from toxic processed food consumption and environmental pollution. Those who understand this are able to prevent and even cure cancers and diabetes through detoxification and nutritious food. But never mind all that lifestyle change hassle. Medical authorities will provide immunity through inoculations and make themselves lots of loot!
Expensive vaccines sold internationally to individuals and governments have less overhead than most other pharmaceuticals. They are cheaper to produce and are usually allowed fast track approval. The liability of lawsuits and heavy fines don’t affect the vaccine industry. They have been exempted from legal financial liability over the last couple of decades as vaccine injury complaints grew exponentially with increased vaccination protocols.
Even doctors, especially pediatricians who insist on vaccinating every child often from birth, make a buck off vaccinations. They buy wholesale and sell retail, adding more profit to office visits.
But it’s not just sales that have these researchers drooling. Individual researchers share patent royalty fees with vaccine companies for whatever vaccines they develop. The researcher is heavily funded for starters, then the royalty’s passive income kicks in.
The Scientist Who Initiated the “Call to Action”
Oxford University Professor Richard Moxon, created the series of papers calling for research action into future vaccine research. “We need to find the requisite funds for the research and development of about 20 improved or novel vaccines in the next decade or beyond,” Moxon declared.
There you go. Get the funding to pay for research and your high salary during that period, then come up with a new twist on an existing vaccine “improved” to get new patent rights and royalties. This is a familiar ploy. Slightly tweak an expired patent drug and create a new patent. Of course, any totally new vaccine would become a patent windfall with the potential for further “improvements” and patents.
Professor Moxon adds, “This call to action comes at a crucial time. In some communities, recent declines in vaccine uptake provide a stark reminder that public confidence and trust in immunization is fragile and requires attention.”
Could vaccine immunization trust fragility have anything to do with that mumps outbreak among children and teens vaccinated with MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) inoculations in the New York/New Jersey area a year and a half ago? This incident managed to get publicized by mainstream media, which is very rare.
The immediate official response was that the 77% of vaccinated mumps victims hadn’t received their required two shots. But when it was discovered that they had received both jabs, some health authorities proclaimed that the MMR schedule should be upped to three shots. So much for vaccination immunization.
As a matter of fact, true life-long immunity occurs from actual exposure to infectious diseases. Either the disease is resisted initially, or the disease infects and is overcome. Then life-long immunity for that disease is established. The fact that more than one inoculation of any vaccine is required indicates true immunity is not granted by vaccination. But the dollars continue to roll in as more vaccinations are required.
Maybe, professor Moxon might learn something about immunity from a retired vaccine researcher now whistle blower who said he would never vaccinate his kid.
The former vaccine researcher, whose identity is concealed, explains that the immune system is a complex arrangement of skin, nasal and throat mucous membranes, organs such as tonsils and adenoids and lymph nodes as well as the intestinal flora. Intestinal flora (friendly bacteria) not only act to destroy invading pathogens, but trigger lymphocytes (killer cells) in the blood as well.
Vaccines merely initiate that last line of defense by activating killer cells unnecessarily, which can create a cytokine storm, unleashing the immune system to overwhelm the person inoculated! There are thousands of vaccinated men, women, and children who’ve experienced seizures, paralysis, and even death from cytokine storms after inoculations.
The whistle blower went on to say there are no safe vaccines, even without those toxic preservatives, adjuvants, thimerasol (mercury), formaldehyde, aluminum, and squalene. He added there is no way to ensure absolute purity in each dose since they contain pathogens from other mammal tissues, and that vaccinations often cause the diseases they’re supposed to prevent.
So Professor Monox, get your arrogant head out of the authority mindset and its money machine. Maybe the demonstrated lack of vaccine efficacy and the thousands and thousands of unpublicized paralyzed and dead vaccine injury victims and so called SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) babies who got jabbed with these dangerous vaccinations from birth have something to do with the emerging public vaccine wariness you think is so foolish.
January 27th, 2011
By: Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
You wouldn’t think the cities had much in common. Iaşi, with a population of 320,000, lies in the Moldavian region of Romania. Mégrine is a town of 24,000 in northern Tunisia, on the Mediterranean Sea. Tartu, Estonia, with a population of 100,000, is the oldest city in the Baltic States; it is sometimes called “the Athens on the Emajõgi.” Shenyang, in northeastern China, is a major industrial center and transportation hub with a population of 7.2 million.
These places are not on anyone’s Top 10 list of travel destinations. But the advance scouts of the pharmaceutical industry have visited all of them, and scores of similar cities and towns, large and small, in far-flung corners of the planet. They have gone there to find people willing to undergo clinical trials for new drugs, and thereby help persuade the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare the drugs safe and effective for Americans. It’s the next big step in globalization, and there’s good reason to wish that it weren’t.
Once upon a time, the drugs Americans took to treat chronic diseases, clear up infections, improve their state of mind, and enhance their sexual vitality were tested primarily either in the United States (the vast majority of cases) or in Europe. No longer. As recently as 1990, according to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, a mere 271 trials were being conducted in foreign countries of drugs intended for American use. By 2008, the number had risen to 6,485—an increase of more than 2,000 percent. A database being compiled by the National Institutes of Health has identified 58,788 such trials in 173 countries outside the United States since 2000. In 2008 alone, according to the inspector general’s report, 80 percent of the applications submitted to the F.D.A. for new drugs contained data from foreign clinical trials. Increasingly, companies are doing 100 percent of their testing offshore. The inspector general found that the 20 largest U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies now conducted “one-third of their clinical trials exclusively at foreign sites.” All of this is taking place when more drugs than ever—some 2,900 different drugs for some 4,600 different conditions—are undergoing clinical testing and vying to come to market.
Some medical researchers question whether the results of clinical trials conducted in certain other countries are relevant to Americans in the first place. They point out that people in impoverished parts of the world, for a variety of reasons, may metabolize drugs differently from the way Americans do. They note that the prevailing diseases in other countries, such as malaria and tuberculosis, can skew the outcome of clinical trials. But from the point of view of the drug companies, it’s easy to see why moving clinical trials overseas is so appealing. For one thing, it’s cheaper to run trials in places where the local population survives on only a few dollars a day. It’s also easier to recruit patients, who often believe they are being treated for a disease rather than, as may be the case, just getting a placebo as part of an experiment. And it’s easier to find what the industry calls “drug-naïve” patients: people who are not being treated for any disease and are not currently taking any drugs, and indeed may never have taken any—the sort of people who will almost certainly yield better test results. (For some subjects overseas, participation in a clinical trial may be their first significant exposure to a doctor.) Regulations in many foreign countries are also less stringent, if there are any regulations at all. The risk of litigation is negligible, in some places nonexistent. Ethical concerns are a figure of speech. Finally—a significant plus for the drug companies—the F.D.A. does so little monitoring that the companies can pretty much do and say what they want.
By Thomas C. Mountain
The “richest man in the world,” Microsoft’s Bill Gates, recently announced that he was making a $10 billion donation towards finding vaccines to prevent some of the world’s worst diseases.
Malaria is the number one killer in Africa. From what I’m hearing about $1 billion of Bill Gates donation/tax write-off is for research to find a vaccine to prevent malaria.
The African country of Eritrea, where I live, has reduced malaria mortality by 85 percent in the last seven years. How? By using basic public health methods. By distributing pesticide treated mosquito nets and organizing the pesticide retreatment every three months of mosquito nets. By habitat eradication. And by community medical clinics for immediate treatment.
Malaria is a parasite-based disease noted for its variety and quick development of resistance to medication. Any “vaccine,” if even a billion dollars is able to produce such, would have a limited lifetime and new, patented medications would have to be bought by Africa’s poor every few years.
So “donating” a billion dollars to develop a malaria “vaccine” could turn into tens of billions of dollars in drug sales in Africa alone, and Bill Gates, through his drug company investments, will quietly pocket more African blood money.
All the while a very successful malaria mortality reduction program is operating, effectively, safely and affordably, in Eritrea.
Why isn’t this being publicized internationally? Could it be that such a program is not going to put billions into the pockets of the drug lords of Western finance?
Bill Gates and other assorted financial terrorists through their control of the Western media and “aid” organizations are suppressing implementation of a successful malaria mortality program while investing in a malaria drug addiction for Africa’s people.
These financial terrorists are perfectly willing to see millions die in Africa while they search for their next highly profitable “wonder drug” to cure malaria, all the while deliberately ignoring, worse, engineering a white out/cover up of what could prevent millions of deaths, let alone uncounted suffering.
And HIV/AIDS, Africa’s N0.2 killer? Bill Gates is said to be providing over a billion dollars for research into developing an AIDS vaccine. AIDS, a virus based disease, has already shown to have varieties and to have developed resistance to the medications developed to treat it. Like the flu vaccine, a new AIDS vaccine would most likely have to be developed every few years to combat the latest strain of the AIDS virus; another gold mine of new, patented medications for sale to Africa’s sick.
Eritrea has reduced HIV/AIDS infection rates by 40 percent, according to Physicians for Peace, and is the only country in Africa to reduce HIV/AIDS. How? By using public health education promoting condom use everywhere in the country. Over a billion for a “vaccine” that may never work while an effective program that can reduce HIV/AIDS infection by 40 percent, safely and affordably can be immediately implemented?
Remember, Western billionaires didn’t get that way by being out to really help anyone. Millions die in Africa as the Western drug lords and their financial terrorist stockholders reap their billions in blood money. All the while real heroes in the Eritrean public health service struggle to save people’s lives.
So don’t believe that Bill Gates is up to any good when he donates $10 billion to vaccine research, just the opposite. And don’t forget that as far at the USA is concerned in Africa, no good deed goes unpunished, and, once again, Eritrea is subject to UN Security Council sanctions.
Stay tuned to Online Journal for more news from Africa’s Horn that the so called free press in the west refuses to cover.
February 1, 2010
By Sam Lister
Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and philanthropist, is to make the largest ever single charitable donation with a pledge of $10 billion (£6 billion) for vaccine work over the next decade.
Mr Gates said that he hoped the coming ten years would be the “decade of the vaccine” to reduce dramatically child mortality in the world’s poorest countries. It is calculated that his pledge could save more than 8 million lives.
Announcing the commitment, which far outstrips even the enormous previous donations by his own foundation, Mr Gates called for increased investment by governments and the private sector to help to research, develop and deliver vaccines.
“We must make this the decade of vaccines,” Mr Gates said. “Vaccines already save and improve millions of lives in developing countries. Innovation will make it possible to save more children than ever before.”Mr Gates and his wife, Melinda, made their announcement at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland, where they were joined by Julian Lob-Levyt, the head of the vaccine consortium, the GAVI Alliance.
“Vaccines are a miracle. With just a few doses, they can prevent deadly diseases for a lifetime,” Mrs Gates said. “We’ve made vaccines our No 1 priority at the Gates Foundation because we’ve seen firsthand their incredible impact on children’s lives.”
Among the infections to be targeted with the money are rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhoea, and pneumococcal disease, which causes pneumonia, blood poisoning, and a form of meningitis.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has used a model developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, to project the potential impact of vaccines on childhood deaths over the next decade.
By significantly scaling up the delivery of life-saving vaccines in developing countries to 90 per cent coverage — including the new vaccines to prevent severe diarrhoea and pneumonia — the model suggests that the deaths of 7.6 million children under the age of 5 could be prevented between now and 2019.
It also estimates that an additional 1.1 million children could be saved with the rapid introduction of a malaria vaccine beginning in 2014.
Mr Gates said that if additional vaccines such as for tuberculosis were developed and introduced in this decade even more lives could be saved.
The new funding is in addition to the $4.5 billion that the Gates Foundation has already committed to vaccine research, development and delivery over the past ten years.
A large portion of the money is expected to go to the GAVI Alliance — which was launched at the World Economic Forum ten years ago this week. To date GAVI, which focuses on public private partnerships, has reached 257 million additional children with new and underused vaccines and prevented 5 million deaths.
Mr Lob-Levyt, the organisation’s chief executive, said that, in the coming years, GAVI would focus on rapidly introducing vaccines to tackle diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Two studies published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that vaccines against rotavirus, which can kill babies and young children within days by causing severe diarrhoea, could save 2 million children over the next decade.
The research suggested that vaccinating babies against rotavirus significantly cut deaths from diarrhoea — by 61 percent in Africa and by 35 percent in Mexico.
Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhoea, which kills more than 500,000 children under the age of 5 every year, nearly half of them in Africa. Rotavirus vaccines are now given as part of the standard immunisations in many developed countries, although it has yet to be introduced in Britain.
There are around 130,000 episodes of gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus each year in the UK. Around 12,700 children are hospitalised and four die each year.
Speakers at the press conference at Davos today underscored the need for major new funding from donors, governments and the private sector to rapidly scale immunisation programmes, conduct more laboratory research and clinical trials, and ensure a steady market for vaccines in developing countries and an adequate supply from manufacturers.
Commenting on Mr Gates’s announcement, Margaret Chan, the World Health Organisation’s director-general said: “The Gates Foundation’s commitment to vaccines is unprecedented, but just a small part of what is needed. It’s absolutely crucial that both governments and the private sector step up efforts to provide life-saving vaccines to children who need them most.”
January 18, 2010
By Alex Renton
Heinz has received an embarrassing ticking-off from the Advertising Standards Authority for the nauseating TV advert for its baby milk, Nurture, above. The ASA said on Monday that the claim that the formula would support growth in the brain, body and immune system of a baby was “unsubstantiated” and “unacceptable”.
Campaigners for honest food are delighted. This is a boost in the next front in the long-running war over children’s food claims: promises that food supplements can aid mental development. (How long-running? In the 1890s John Harvey Kellogg said that his cornflakes would prevent masturbation in young men, while in 1903 Grape Nuts promised a cure for malaria and loose teeth.)
Already Nestle’s Gerber brand in the United States is marketing follow-on purees for toddlers with the words “helps support brain and eye development” prominent on the packet. This claim – accepted by the authorities in the US – is based on research around DHA and other forms of Omega-3 oils.
Despite scepticism over on this side of the Atlantic – one eminent scientist told me recently the claim that DHA could help nerve system development and cognitive function was “bullshit” – manufacturers have been preparing for what they believe will be a positive ruling from the European foods standards body soon. Will the ASA ruling upset that process?
For now, it is three cheers for the ASA, which has been showing its teeth on food manufacturers’ porkies lately. Christine Haigh of the Children’s Food Campaign points out the resemblance with the case last October in which Danone’s adverts claimed that Actimel was “scientifically proven to help support your kids defences” were ruled against. “We believe the Food Standards Agency needs to investigate how widespread this practice is,” says Haigh.
Sadly the ASA, like the Press Complaints Commission, is more bark than bite. It cannot make Heinz and its ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO say sorry to those poor parents it bullied to buy Nurture, which costs 70% more than the Farley’s product it replaced when launched in July 2008. In fact, a proper self-regulatory body would make “agency of the year 2009″ AMV BBDO pay back their fee to the mums and dads. Shouldn’t it?
November 18, 2009
By Linda A. Johnson
Malaria. Tuberculosis. Alzheimer’s disease. AIDS. Pandemic flu. Genital herpes. Urinary tract infections. Grass allergies. Traveler’s diarrhea. You name it, the pharmaceutical industry is working on a vaccine to prevent it.
Many could be on the market in five years or less.
Contrast that with five years ago, when so many companies had abandoned the vaccine business that half the U.S. supply of flu shots was lost because of contamination at one of the two manufacturers left.
Vaccines are no longer a sleepy, low-profit niche in a booming drug industry. Today, they’re starting to give ailing pharmaceutical makers a shot in the arm.
The lure of big profits, advances in technology and growing government support has been drawing in new companies, from nascent biotechs to Johnson & Johnson. That means recent remarkable strides in overcoming dreaded diseases and annoying afflictions likely will continue.
“Even if a small portion of everything that’s going on now is successful in the next 10 years, you put that together with the last 10 years (and) it’s going to be characterized as a golden era,” says Emilio Emini, Pfizer Inc.’s head of vaccine research.
Vaccines now are viewed as a crucial path to growth, as drugmakers look for ways to bolster slowing prescription medicine sales amid intensifying generic competition and government pressure to cut down prices under the federal health overhaul.
Unlike medicines that treat diseases, vaccines help prevent infections by revving up the body’s natural immune defenses against invaders. They are made from viruses, bacteria or parts of them that have been killed or weakened so they generally can’t cause an infection.
Investment in partnerships and other deals to develop and manufacture vaccines has been on a tear—and accelerating since the swine flu pandemic began. Billions in government grants are bringing better, faster ways to develop and manufacture vaccines. Rising worldwide emphasis on preventive health care, plus the advent of the first multibillion-dollar vaccines, have further boosted their appeal.
While prescription drug sales are forecast to rise by a third in five years, vaccine sales should double, from $19 billion last year to $39 billion in 2013, according to market research firm Kalorama Information. That’s five times the $8 billion in vaccine sales in 2004.
“What was essentially 25 years ago a rounding error now has become real money,” says Robin Robertson, director of the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority.
That jump is due to a couple of new blockbuster vaccines and rising use of existing ones. The government’s list of recommended vaccines for children since has more than doubled since 1985 to 17. It now also calls for a half-dozen vaccines for everyone over 18 and up to four more for some adults.
The last decade brought breakthrough vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus—two of the world’s top killers—meningitis, cervical cancer and more.
Better technology to create and mass produce vaccines is bringing progress in preventing tropical dengue fever and new threats like superbugs MRSA and C. difficile, even ending addiction to cocaine and nicotine. Success on some vaccines in development, particularly for Alzheimer’s and AIDS, likely would bring billions a year in sales.
Just this fall and early next year, the swine flu vaccines are expected to bring their makers at least a couple billion extra dollars.
That’s despite the five manufacturers for the U.S. not being able to meet an optimistic plan to first make seasonal flu shots and then produce 120 million doses of swine flu vaccine by mid-October—an unprecedented task. But they are steadily catching up with demand.
By Kate Kelland
Nearly a million people die from malaria each year because they cannot afford the most effective treatment and instead often buy old drugs to which the malaria parasite has become resistant, researchers said on Monday.
Artemisinin combination therapy, or ACT, drugs made by firms such as Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis can cost as much as 65 times the daily minimum wage in some African countries, according to a study of 6 high-risk nations by Populations Services International Malaria.
ACTs can cost up to $11 to patients buying over the counter, while older drugs to less effective drugs cost just $0.30 cents.
“With most people accessing anti-malarial medication through the private sector, price becomes a critically important barrier,” said Desmond Chavasse, director of PSI.
“A full course of an adult treatment of ACT can be up to 65 times the minimum daily wage. This provides an overpowering incentive (for patients) to make the wrong anti-malarial choice.”
Malaria is a potentially deadly disease transmitted via mosquito bites. Children account for about 90 percent of the deaths in the sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia — the worst affected areas.
Chavasse was speaking to reporters from Nairobi, where he was at an international malaria conference to present a study called ACTwatch — a research project by PSI and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the malaria drugs market across 6 sub-Saharan African countries and Cambodia.
The study — designed to provide baseline data to allow experts to judge a planned drug subsidy scheme being offered in 11 nations — looked at availability, pricing and volumes for 23,000 malaria treatments sourced from 20,000 outlets.
In most countries, ACTs make up only 5 to 15 percent of the total volume of anti-malarials on the market, it found.
According to PSI, the majority of malaria endemic countries changed their treatment policies about three years ago to favor giving ACT drugs in the face of widespread malaria resistance to older monotherapy medicines.
But Chavasse said despite this, ACT availability can still be as low as 20 percent in public sector health clinics.
Malaria experts hope a $225 million Affordable Medicines Facility for malaria (AMFm) subsidy scheme launched in April by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will drastically cut the price of ACTs in poorer nations.
The plan is being offered to Benin, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Niger, to try to cut ACT prices to about $0.20 to $0.50 cents.
September 9, 2009
An emerging new form of malaria poses a deadly threat to humans, research has shown.
It had been thought the parasite Plasmodium knowlesi only infected monkeys.
But it has recently been found to be widespread in humans in Malaysia, and the latest study confirms that it can kill if not treated quickly.
The work, by an international team, appears in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Although the new form of the disease has so far been concentrated in South East Asia, the researchers warn that tourism to the region could soon see cases appearing in Western countries too.
Malaria kills more than a million people each year.
It is caused by malaria parasites, which are injected into the bloodstream by infected mosquitoes.
Of the four species of malaria parasite that often cause disease in humans, P. falciparum, found most commonly in Africa, is the most deadly.
Another parasite, P. malariae, found in tropical and sub-tropical regions across the globe, has symptoms that are usually less serious.
P. knowlesi had been thought only to infect monkeys, in particular long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques found in the rainforests of South East Asia.
But following work by a team at the University Malaysia Sarawak it has now been recognised as a significant cause of disease in humans.
The latest study shows that P. knowlesi can easily be confused with P. malariae under the microscope.
However, unlike its cousin, P. knowlesi has the ability to reproduce every 24 hours in the blood – meaning infection is potentially deadly.
Researcher Professor Balbir Singh said this meant early diagnosis and treatment were crucial.
The researchers carried out tests on over 150 patients admitted to hospital in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, between July 2006 and January 2008 with malaria infection.
They found that P. knowlesi accounted for more than two-thirds of the infections, resulting in a wide spectrum of disease.
Most cases of infection were uncomplicated and easily treated with chloroquine and primaquine, two commonly used anti-malarial drugs.
However, around one in ten patients had developed complications, such as breathing difficulties and kidney problems, and two died.
Although the fatality rate was just under 2%, that made P. knowlesi as deadly as P. falciparum malaria.
And the researchers stress it is hard to determine an accurate fatality rate given the small number of cases so far studied.
Low platelet count
All of the P. knowlesi patients had a low blood platelet count, significantly lower than that usually found for other types of malaria.
However, even though blood platelets are essential for blood clotting, no cases of excessive bleeding or problems with clotting were identified.
The researchers believe the low blood platelet count could be used as a potential way to diagnose P. knowlesi infections.
Professor Singh said: “The increase in tourism in South East Asia may mean that more cases are detected in the future, including in Western countries.
“Clinicians assessing a patient who has visited an area with known or possible P. knowlesi transmission should be aware of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and rapid and potentially serious course of P. knowlesi malaria.”