Category: Infection

Eliminating Viral Hepatitis: ‘Missing Millions or Missing Billions’

By Professor Mark ThurszProfessor of Hepatology within the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

According to the World Health Organisation it is estimated that 250 million people worldwide are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 70 million with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Untreated, these infections can lead to premature death from cirrhosis and liver cancer; recent statistics suggest that together HBV and HCV are responsible for more deaths than HIV.

Ending stigma and HIV transmission

By Dr Julia Makinde is a Research Associate with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative at Imperial College London

It is estimated that there are 36.7 million people living with HIV globally with 1.8 million new infections in 2016 alone (1). This number represents an 11% drop in the number of new infections from 2010 . Some might consider this an achievement or a testament to the impact of strategic national and global policies aimed at tackling the epidemic. But in reality, these numbers mask the discrepant pace in the effort to tackle transmission and AIDS-related deaths in countries across the globe.

Hepatitis: Why early screening matters

By Professor Mark Thursz, Professor of Hepatology within the Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

Five viruses, hepatitis A – E, specifically infect the liver and cause acute hepatitis or chronic hepatitis.

Over 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected and are therefore at risk of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus are together responsible for over a million deaths per year. The majority of infections and deaths related to these viruses occur in low and middle income countries. In 2010 the United Nations World Health Assembly passed a resolution which recognised the burden of disease imposed by these viruses and initiated a public health response to viral hepatitis which included the inception of World Hepatitis Day.

Topical issues in STIs: going beyond testing at the Jefferiss Wing centre for Sexual Health

By Dr Angela Bailey, Consultant HIV/GU medicine, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

The Jefferiss Wing at St Mary’s hospital is one of the biggest sexual health clinics in the UK. As well as providing services for testing (walk in and bookable online), we have an active Clinical Trials Centre and many of our clinicians are involved in sexual health research which gives our patients a chance to participate in studies and access to the latest developments in STI care. Some key areas, which have been in the news over the last year, are discussed here.

Putting TB to the test: My journey so far

By Harriet Gliddon, winner of the IGHI Student Challenges Competition 2015-16

During March 2016, I blogged for IGHI on World TB Day about my experiences of entering the Student Challenges Competition.

The intervening six months have been busier than I could have imagined, and filled with things like delivering an invited talk at the Biosensors Summit in Sweden, submitting my PhD thesis and completing an internship at the World Health Organization.

Despite the chaos, I’ve managed to make some exciting advances with the nanomaterial-based diagnostic test for TB that I presented at the Student Challenges Competition. One component of this work has focused on validating the genetic markers that are the biological targets, or biomarkers, of the test.

The global burden of viral hepatitis

By Dr Graham Cooke, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Infectious Diseases, Imperial College London

A couple of weeks ago we published our paper on the burden of viral hepatitis. We’d hoped that the Lancet would publish it in time for World Health Assembly in May and it might get a bit of attention. That couldn’t be done, so it came out on the 6th July. The same day as Chilcot. Not a brilliant piece of planning, it has to be said, and a reminder of how much I have to learn about PR.

With colleagues at Imperial, we have been studying and writing about hepatitis for some years.

TB or not TB?

By final year Imperial Medical PhD student Harriet Gliddon – winner of our Student Challenges Competition 2015/16 

World TB Day (24th March) commemorates the anniversary of Robert Koch’s 1882 discovery of the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB). Since then, it has been the subject of intense research, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on TB research and development every year. Despite this, we still lack the antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostic tests needed to control the disease properly, and TB therefore remains a major public health challenge, particularly in developing settings like much of sub-Saharan Africa. As of last year, TB is the leading cause of death worldwide due to an infection.

Controlling schistosomiasis: another reason why clean water is so important

By Dr Michael Templeton, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London

With World Water Day approaching on 22 March, research at Imperial College London is highlighting yet another example of why access to clean water is so vitally important to human health.

The research is seeking to quantify the role of access to clean water in reducing the odds of becoming infected with the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis.

It has been estimated that 200 million people in developing countries are infected with the parasite causing this disease, which manifests itself in a range of symptoms, including enlargement of the liver and spleen, anaemia, increased risk of bladder cancer, exacerbation of the transmission of HIV and its progression to AIDS, and in extreme cases seizures.

SCI needs to expand coverage to help treat 100 million children a year against bilharzia (schistosomiasis) and worms.

By Professor Alan Fenwick OBE, Director of SCI (Schistosomiasis Control Initiative), Imperial College, London)

Schistosomiasis is a type of infection caused by parasites that live in fresh water, such as rivers or lakes, in subtropical and tropical regions worldwide.  It is also known as bilharzia.

The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College London supports Ministries of Health and Education in 16 countries to deliver medicines to treat people infected with schistosomiasis and three intestinal worms. The medicines are donated by various pharmaceutical companies, Merck KgGA (praziquantel), GSK (albendazle) and Johnson and Johnson (mebendazole), and for the most part, the targets are school aged children.