Paromomycin is a treatment for visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala azar. An estimated 1.5 million people worldwide are infected with VL, and without treatment, the disease is fatal. "If a disease killed the equivalent number of people in the United States, it would be the third-largest killer after heart disease and cancer and would cause more deaths than stroke," Dr. Hale stated at the recent meeting. In India, as many as 200,000 people die each year from the disease. OneWorld Health, in collaboration with the Tropical Disease Research Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO/TDR), is conducting a 670-patient Phase III clinical trial in Bihar, India, the largest-ever such trial. According to Dr. Hale, the trial is showing very positive results.
Dr. Hale told World Economic Forum attendees, "OneWorld Health and our partners are dedicated to developing new therapies for neglected infectious diseases that are affordable and meet international standards of quality." OneWorld Health's drug pipeline includes advanced treatments for visceral leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, childhood diarrheal disease and potential treatments for malaria and Chagas disease.
As a panelist at the World Economic Forum, Dr. Hale spoke about the need for innovative new and affordable therapies to both prevent and treat AIDS. Speaking on the importance of unifying the global health community, Dr. Hale stated, "SARS is an example of how quickly and effectively humanity can be mobilized to save lives and we need the same global commitment applied to HIV/AIDS, and developing world diseases."
Dr. Hale is an expert on developing new treatments for tropical infectious diseases and brings extensive pharmaceutical experience from public and private sectors, including the FDA and Genentech. In recent months, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Geneva, Switzerland, named Dr. Hale one of 10 of the world's most outstanding Social Entrepreneurs for 2004.
The Institute for OneWorld Health advances global health by developing new, affordable medicines for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect people in the developing world. OneWorld Health accomplishes this through an entrepreneurial business model in which its staff of experienced pharmaceutical scientists identifies promising drug leads and drives their development from pre-clinical studies to clinical trials through regulatory approval. The Institute for OneWorld Health, headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., is a tax-exempt 501(c) (3), U.S. corporation (www.oneworldhealth.org).