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(Photo by: NewsMedical, 2013)

The first new TB treatment in over 50 years, bedaquiline, was approved by the US FDA on Monday the 31st of December.

The FDA’s press release can be found here.

Ben Plumley, CEO of Pangaea, commented, “hidden in New Year’s Eve celebrations, this was a momentous decision. Bedaquiline was first developed by Belgian researcher Koen Andries and his team at Janssen Pharmaceutica over ten years ago.

“With sustained engagement from the global public health and activist communities, the pharmaceutical industry can still be mobilized to develop ground-breaking treatments for global infectious disease. A key challenge is now to apply the lessons learned from bedaquiline and other new treatments to incentivize continued research and development into HIV treatment that focuses of the needs of people with HIV in developing countries.”

For more information, see:

Janssen’s press release.

MSF’s press release.

Treatment Action Group’s press release.

Global Alliance for TB Drug Development press release.

The Pangaea today congratulated Ambassador Mark Dybul on his appointment to the post of Executive Director of The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  The Global Fund is the main financier of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with funding of US$ 22.9 billion, since 2002, for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. To date, programs supported by the Global Fund have provided HIV treatment for 3.6 million people.

Ambassador Dybul is an outstanding leader in global health and is known, particularly, for his role in helping create and lead the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). His medical training specialized in immunology, and as well as an expert AIDS clinician, Ambassador Dybul has unrivalled experience and expertise in administrating large funding programs to strengthen health strategies, particularly in resource limited settings.

Ben Plumley, CEO of Pangaea said, “After a difficult year of uncertainty about the future of the Global Fund, Ambassador Dybul brings the passion and perseverance needed to rebuild the organization, and realize its full potential to save lives around the world. We join with other organizations and leaders in strongly supporting his appointment, and commit to working with him and his team to help achieve this goal.”

Pangaea has collaborated with the Global Fund for over a decade, and most recently, in 2011, evaluated the Fund’s Gender Equality (GE) and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identify (SOGI) Strategies.

Based in Oakland, California, the mission of Pangaea is to build partnerships that improve the   lives of people living with and most at-risk for HIV to ensure equitable access to prevention, testing, treatment and care.

PlusNews examines challenges and concerns over an announcement by the Zimbabwean government that it plans to train nurses to prescribe and administer antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to people living with HIV in the country. "Previously, nurses were allowed only to administer the drugs after a doctor had prescribed them," the news service writes, adding, "Now, changes made in the job descriptions of nurses by the Nurses' Council of Zimbabwe will see them prescribing the medication." Owen Mugurungi, director of the HIV/AIDS and TB unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, said, "I need to point out that it's not enough that a professional council allow nurses to administer drugs; this should be followed up with measures to capacitate nurses to do this work correctly," according to PlusNews. The news agency looks at how the possibility of work overload for nurses, a government hiring freeze on nurses, and ARV availability could affect the country's plan to reach 85 percent of the population in need of HIV treatment by the end of this year

26 September 2012 – African leaders meeting on the sidelines of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly called today for innovative solutions to accelerate the response to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and to advance health for people on the continent.

At their meeting at UN Headquarters, the leaders discussed the African Union (AU) Roadmap, which outlines long-term sustainable strategies to finance and provide access to HIV treatment and prevention services and other health services in Africa as called for in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The UN News Report is available here.

37 million People worldwide are living with HIV (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)

16 million Women living with HIV (United Nations Statistics 2014)

15 million People living with HIV having access to antiretroviral therapy (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)

5,600 People Contract HIV every day - more than 230 every hour (amfAR Statistics 2014: Worldwide)