Institute of OneWorld Health is working towards effective cure of diarrhoea and leishmaniasis

I nfectious diseases that have been banished from the most fortunate nations continue to kill millions in the developing world.

Diseases that can easily be prevented with a vaccine or a safe drug continue to kill people mainly because of negligence or lack of awareness.

Diarrhoeal diseases account for approximately two million deaths annually in children under the age of five.

International programmes encouraging the use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) have greatly reduced infant mortality in recent years by treating dehydration. However, while ORT is extremely useful, it does not treat the cause of diarrhoea directly.

Institute of World Health has recently entered into collaborations with pharmaceutical giants Roche and Novartis to develop drugs to treat diarrhoea.

Urgent need

“With approximately four billion acute cases annually reported among children, there is an urgent need for safe and affordable anti-diarrhoeal drugs to treat infants and children in conjunction with ORT,” says Richard Chin, M.D., Institute for OneWorld Health.

Another deadly disease that iOWH has been working on is Visceral Leishmaniasis. Commonly known as Kala-azar, Visceral Leishmaniasis is a fatal systemic infection caused by various species of Leishmania parasites. “The Institute for OneWorld Health is developing Paromomycin IM Injection (PMIM), a safe, affordable and effective therapy that can cure visceral leishmaniasis throughout the world. In fact, we recently completed a major study of Paromomycin IM Injection for the treatment of VL in India, and conducted field research to understand better the impact of the disease and treatment on rural communities of Bihar,” says Dr. Raj Shankar Ghosh, M.D. of Institute for OneWorld Health (iOWH) for South Asia region.