Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

WHO, Sanofi renew tropical disease focus

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World Health Organization (WHO) personnel and officials representing Sanofi, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, said the entities are partnering to readdress neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

“This decades-long collaboration exemplifies a successful public–private partnership that has created meaningful impact in several countries and has brought sleeping sickness closer to elimination,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said. “In a world severely disrupted by the current pandemic, Sanofi’s renewed commitment and support to end this disease will immensely benefit and improve the lives of marginalized populations.”

A five-year $25 million agreement spanning from 2021 to 2025 supports WHO’s global program for the elimination of human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniasis, control and prevention of Chagas disease, and integrated control of the skin NTDs.

“Sanofi has been collaborating for 20 years with the World Health Organization in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs),” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said. “The renewal of this collaboration speaks volumes about our longstanding engagement in global health. We also welcome the recent endorsement of the new NTDs roadmap by the World Health Assembly.”

Hudson said Sanofi is committed to further contributing to the elimination of sleeping sickness, including advancing research and development for vulnerable communities exposed to the disease.

The pact enables the WHO to coordinate the delivery of donated medicines. Under the agreement, funding would also be earmarked for in-country capacity-strengthening and training of health workers, improved epidemiological surveillance, and renewed efforts for case-finding and treatment for leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and the skin NTDs.