Gates gives $750 million to the Global Fund, Patient with deadly TB strain in India tests positive for HIV, and more…

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The following is a compilation of recent articles and releases making headlines in HIV, TB and global health news.

Gates Injects $750 Million in Troubled Global Fund: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Thursday that has committed $750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, what Bill Gates called, “one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.” Gates made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also issued his 2012 annual letter this week on his organization’s website – urging donor governments to continue investing in the Global Fund. The letter also highlights innovation as the key to improving the world, specifically innovation in the agriculture sector to help farmers increase their yields and feed the world’s poor. “If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families.  If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation,” he said in the letter.

Patient with deadly TB strain tests positive for HIV: The Times of India reported Thursday that one of the 14 patients diagnosed with “totally” or “extra-extremely” drug-resistant tuberculosis (XXDR-TB) in Mumbai has now tested positive for HIV. According to the article, the prevalence of HIV among TB patients in Mumbai is seven to eight percent. “A chest specialist said HIV clubbed with resistant TB may be tricky, but not impossible to manage. ‘Yes, drug interactions (in such a patient) can have more side effects, but it can be handled if the patient comes in at an early stage.’”

Tuberculosis – The world cannot afford another phase of neglect: This post from Global Health Frontline News’ “Notes from the Field” blog by Kevin Cain, MD, describes the community-based TB treatment support program and the important TB research underway in Kisumu. Cain is the head of the TB research branch at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Kenya Medical Research Institute, a research and public health collaboration between the U.S. and Kenya. “Currently a new TB vaccine is being tested. Just recently, the first part of the study that was designed to verify it was safe and well tolerated was completed, and soon thousands of infants in Kenya and other sites in Africa will be enrolled in a study to see if it can prevent TB,” Cain writes in the post.

NIH Funding Hits All-Time Low: Grants proposed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) that were successfully funded in 2011 dropped to 18 percent, the lowest ever, according to a report in The Scientist. That’s a three percent reduction from the previous year. The blog “Rock Talk” from the Office of Extramural Research at NIH first reported the trend on January 13 – and culled the data from the “NIH Data Book,” which is updated annually. “A number of factors contributed to the lower RPG success rates in 2011. One of the most obvious was an 8 percent increase in the number of competing RPG applications. We received a record 49,592 applications,” blog author Dr. Sally Rockey wrote. ScienceInsider suggested in their reporting that tighter budgets at the organization played into the result as well.

They Will Say We Are Not Here: The New York Times published this video documentary Thursday of the Ugandan gay human rights activist David Kato, who was brutally beaten inside his home one year ago today and died on the way to the hospital. “These are fragments of David Kato, glimpses of a Ugandan activist and friend who – one year ago today – was brutally murdered,” according to the Times. “These moments offer a perspective on the inner world that David shared with us, a world teeming with passion and relentless determination, good humor and vivid daydreams.”

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