Princess Cooperation Award, for neglected diseases

Princess Cooperation Award, for neglected diseases

2023-06-01 14:11:15

The Medicines for Neglected Diseases Initiative, a non-profit research organization that develops new treatments for patients from poor and vulnerable communities, has won the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

Created in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) was funded by Doctors Without Borders, the World Health Organization and five other institutions.

Since its launch, it has provided a dozen affordable and easy-to-administer treatments for six serious diseases, especially prevalent in tropical countries.

This network, made up of more than 200 members in more than 40 countries, focuses on pathologies such as river blindness or filariasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, hepatitis C, malaria , cryptococcal meningitis, dengue, HIV, mycetoma and, in recent years, COVID-19.

One in five people in the world suffers from a neglected disease

According to data from the organization, one in five people worldwide (five hundred million of them children) suffers from at least one neglected disease, and given its low incidence compared to other types of ailments, the development of medicines or treatments for they are not profitable in economic terms.

DNDi’s strategy is based on addressing the problem through collaborations with actors involved in the health sector that allow the creation of treatments for these diseases and access to them in an affordable way.

Thus, with the pharmaceutical companies, it creates research projects, development and distribution of drugs; agrees on co-sponsorship projects for clinical studies and joint work with ministries of health and public institutions; and collaborates with knowledge and research centers around the world to reach affected communities and patients.

The DNDi undertakes an average of twenty clinical studies each year, has nine R&D projects in phase III and in the registration process, and has designed a Strategic Plan until 2028 with which it intends to achieve between fifteen and eighteen treatments and eight to ten new medications for your treatment.

Expand the catalog of neglected diseases

Among its objectives is also to expand the catalog of diseases under study, such as dengue, snake bites and schistosomiasis.

Precisely, the ambitious plan that the DNDi has set for the development of new medicines and treatments that “will improve health and save millions of lives around the world” has been one of the points highlighted by the jury that has ruled today in Oviedo this award.

The candidacy, which has received the unanimous support of the jury, had been proposed by the president of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Spain, Eduardo Díaz-Rubio García, and supported, among others, by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology , and Christos Christou, international president of Doctors without bordersentity awarded the 1991 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.

Headquarters in Geneva and eight other locations

With headquarters in Geneva and eight others around the world, the Medicines for Neglected Diseases Initiative was directed by Bernard Pécoul from 2003 to 2022, the year in which he was replaced by Dr. Luis Pizarro, a Chilean-French doctor and expert in world health. .

The initiative receives funding from public and private entities, and throughout its history it has received funds from the European Union, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation and the “La Caixa” Foundation. , among many others.

In Spain, the DNDi has participated in scientific sessions, such as the one on ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases and Sustainable Millennium Goals’, which it organized in January 2020 together with the Royal National Academy of Medicine, and the Spanish Government has allocated aid to the organization -12 million euros between 2006 and 2012-.

The organization was awarded in June 2013 with the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge award for Development Cooperation.

Information is vital to avoid the spread of Ebola. Photo: MSF

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