GSK and Novartis on Thursday reinforced their commitments to address the neglected tropical diseasesas world leaders and health experts gather in Rwanda to discuss how best to combat diseases that affect more than a billion people, mostly in impoverished communities.

The intention is to promote a renewed effort to deal with some 20 diseases that have been eradicated in the developed world -from the leprosy until the Rage— after work in these areas was interrupted by the economic cost of the pandemic.

GSK pledged to spend £1 billion ($1.23 billion) over the next decade to develop drugs and vaccines to tackle neglected tropical diseases (NTD), as well as infectious diseases such as malariathe tuberculosis and the HIVwhich disproportionately affect countries with lower incomes.

The London company, pioneer in the creation of the first vaccine against malariahas created and will invest in a dedicated global health unit, which will not generate profit for GSK.

The firm has more than 30 drugs and vaccines in preparation for this effort, including products designed to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

The Swiss Pharmaceutical Novartis has committed to investing $250 million over the next five years to develop interventions against NTDs and malaria.

Of that amount, 100 million have been allocated to Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, dengue and cryptosporidiosis. The remainder has been designated for malaria, which killed more than half a million people in 2020, mostly children under the age of five in the poorest parts of Africa.

On the other hand, the American pharmaceutical Pfizer It has also extended its commitment to donate Zithromax, an antibiotic for trachoma, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, to countries fighting the disease through 2030.

“Large drug donations without a sustainable supply and investments in innovation are inadequate to the challenge of NTD control,” said Dr. Bernard Pecoul, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). ), a non-profit research and development organization.

“As climate change will increase the burden of NTDs … and hit the most vulnerable the hardest … now is the time to really engage in NTD research and development.”


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