IMA World Health/Kara Eberle
his week, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 was split among two scientists best known for their work in developing a drug widely used in IMA World Health’s programs for treating the neglected tropical diseases lymphatic filariasis (LF) and River Blindness (onchocerciasis), and another scientist who developed a new anti-malaria drug also used in our work.
IMA salutes William Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for developing Avermectin, and Youyou Tu for her discovery of Artemisinin. Their efforts get us closer to achieving our vision of health, healing and well-being for all.
IMA has been working to address NTDs since the 1990s in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Our projects target five of the NTDs that cause the greatest morbidity and mortality. In addition to LF and River Blindness, we also work to treat and prevent trachoma, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminthes (worms).
Controlling and eliminating NTDs is critical, as they impact the achievement of most health and development indicators. NTDs inhibit children from learning and developing to their full potential, and adults from working and supporting their families economically.
IMA also delivers malaria interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, two countries that experience disproportionate malaria burdens. Here, we ensure that pregnant women access intermittent preventive therapy (IPTp) to prevent malaria during pregnancy and that they and their young children sleep under long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs).
At the diagnostic and treatment level, IMA works with health care providers to accurately diagnose malaria through Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and to provide Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy (ACT) treatment.
“The discoveries of Avermectin and Artemisinin have revolutionized therapy for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases,” The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet wrote in a press release posted at nobelprize.org. “Campbell, Ōmura and Tu have transformed the treatment of parasitic diseases.”