WHO and Gilead Sciences extend collaborative agreement to increase access to treatment for visceral leishmaniasis

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Gilead Sciences have signed a new agreement to donate 304,700 vials of AmBisome (liposomal amphotericin B for injection) for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in countries most affected by the disease, helping their 2025 to the previous agreement.

The new three-year collaboration (2023-2025) estimated at US$11.3 million, including financial support, will support improved coverage and access to diagnosis and treatment for communities affected by visceral leishmaniasis.

“This long-term collaboration between WHO and Gilead Sciences exemplifies a successful public-private partnership to advance the public health agenda and bring needed care to affected populations,” Dr. Tereza Kaseva, Acting Assistant Director General, AI, Universal Health coverage/communicable & non-communicable diseases. “During the past 9 years, AmBisome donated by Gilead Sciences has brought endemic countries, especially in the South-East Asia region, to the brink of eliminating visceral leishmaniasis as a public health problem – a dreaded disease, known for its high potential for mortality and outbreaks.

Product donation will benefit affected populations in high burden countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, as well as Eritrea and Yemen as new recipients for critical and complex treatment will be included. affairs.

Gilead Sciences’ financial support will support WHO’s global efforts to prevent, control and eliminate visceral leishmaniasis, its impact on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations in the many endemic countries.

“Gilead is proud to support the World Health Organization’s efforts to control deaths from visceral leishmaniasis in the countries most affected by this deadly disease.” said Daniel O’Day, president and chief executive officer of Gilead Sciences. “Through this ongoing public-private partnership, we have made significant progress in improving health outcomes for disadvantaged populations in many endemic countries.”

Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar, is endemic in 80 countries around the world. This is the most severe form of leishmaniasis as it is fatal without treatment.

“The World Health Assembly has endorsed the new NTD (Neglected Tropical Diseases) Roadmap 2021-2030 and the renewal of this agreement comes at an opportune time as we look to achieve the ambitious targets set for visceral leishmaniasis and significantly reduce the disease burden. Dr. Ibrahima Sosse Fall, director of the WHO Department for the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, said. “We are doing our best to strengthen services in endemic countries and prevent the threat of this life-threatening condition. Looking forward to this cooperation in collective efforts.”

“Continued donation of Ambisome has improved access to treatment by achieving better results and reducing treatment duration from several days to a few hours as a single injection, especially in the South-East Asia region,” Daniel Argaav Dagne, Unit Head, Prevention Treatment and Care, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “Key countries in elimination settings in the South-East Asia region have the lowest number of cases and this agreement with Gilead Sciences will enable national programs to consolidate the gains made over the years and move towards validation of elimination, en route An important step towards elimination.

Visceral leishmaniasis is characterized by intermittent bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anemia. The disease affects some of the world’s poorest people and is linked to malnutrition, population displacement, poor housing, weakened immune systems and lack of financial resources.

The disease is highly endemic in Brazil, the Indian subcontinent and East Africa.

As a result of this long-term collaboration, VL morbidity decreased by more than 82 percent and mortality by 95 percent in Southeast Asia. There are an estimated 50,000–90,000 new cases worldwide each year. More than 90 percent of new cases have been reported from seven countries: Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. However, just six years ago, case estimates were up to 300,000 cases per year.

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