Category Archives: Q&As with Experts

Q&As with Experts

Top private funder of TB R&D moves forward with trials of promising new drug

By on .

Otsuka Pharmaceuticals is the top private funder of tuberculosis (TB) research and drug development in the world. Last year, Otsuka established a Geneva-based subsidiary – Otsuka SA – to serve as “the company’s central operations for developing and implementing public health policies and corporate social responsibility programs in connection with its global TB program,” according to the company’s website.

As part of our reporting in advance of World TB Day on Saturday (March 24), Science Speaks interviewed Patrizia Carlevaro, PhD, the leader of Otsuka SA, to discuss Otsuka’s latest research to address drug-resistant forms of TB, the world’s emerging tuberculosis “hotspots,” and other efforts by the subsidiary organization to tackle TB.

Reichman: “TB has always been ignored and forgotten”

By on .

In advance of World TB Day (Saturday, March 24) Science Speaks sat down with tuberculosis (TB) expert Lee B. Reichman, MD, MPH, founding executive director of the New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute, to discuss the spread of drug-resistant TB and what he thinks are the most promising advances coming down the scientific pipeline. […]

Innovative programming to combat HIV, TB and cholera: A conversation with CDC’s John Vertefeuille

By on .

In this third post in a series of conversations with officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussing the CDC’s role in global HIV and tuberculosis research and development, Science Speaks sat down with John Vertefeuille, PhD – the country director for CDC in Haiti. There he leads a team of 55 and […]

CDC at the frontlines of TB research in Kenya: a conversation with Kayla Laserson

By on .

This is the first in a series of conversations with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussing the CDC’s role in global HIV and tuberculosis research and development.  The following interview is with Kayla Laserson, Director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)/CDC Field Research Station in Kisumu, Kenya. Dr. Laserson […]

Six-way agreement with pharma and TB organizations boosts info sharing, speeds novel combo treatments through development

By on .

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) and the TB Alliance joined with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Bayer, Sanofi and Tibotec in an innovative agreement to share information about tuberculosis (TB) compounds in their drug pipelines and speed the development of new regimens, including the most promising multi-drug treatments, regardless of sponsor. Science Speaks sat down with Mel Spigelman, MD, president and chief executive officer of the TB Alliance, to discuss the new collaboration, which promising drug combinations are coming down the pipeline, and how their work is expediting the process.

“They go to die”: A quest to tell the story of HIV/TB among southern Africa’s gold miners

By on .

The following is an interview with Jonathan Smith, writer and director of a documentary-in-progress entitled “They Go to Die,” highlighting the brutal toll of the dual HIV/TB epidemics among South Africa’s mine workers. Science Speaks sat down with Smith to discuss the film, what the epidemics look like on the ground in southern Africa, and what he is doing to raise the money needed to complete his documentary.

An interview with Zambian global health advocate Carol Nyirenda

By on .

Carol Nyirenda – executive director of the Community Initiative for Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and Malaria plus related diseases – has been living with HIV for several years and is a tuberculosis survivor. A Zambian native, her advocacy work initially in TB created the foundation for her career in national and global activism that now stretches beyond HIV, TB and malaria. Nyirenda serves on the Stop TB Partnership’s New Diagnostics Working Group as a community representative, and is a board member representing communities of people living with TB, HIV and malaria for UNITAID, where she has successfully lobbied for resources for drug resistant TB diagnostics, according to the Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign where Nyirenda used to work.

She sat down with Science Speaks while on her latest trip to the U.S. and discussed access to treatment and care services in Zambia, how critical Global Fund investment is to these services in her country and what has changed since the corruption allegations surfaced in 2010.

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr: This would be the epidemic of our generation

By on .

Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, is one of the world’s leading experts in HIV and tuberculosis care and treatment. An infectious disease specialist, she directs the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) and the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiologic Research at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital Center. Dr. El-Sadr has led early trials studying antimicrobial gels that aim to inhibit HIV transmission, and is known internationally for her leadership in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She is a 2008 MacArthur Foundation fellow and has held several leadership posts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association.

Thirty years ago this past Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first cases of what would become HIV in its publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Science Speaks interviewed Dr. El-Sadr as part of its special series commemorating 30 years of AIDS, and she discusses the parallels in treating populations in the U.S. and in Africa, the greatest achievements in the epidemic’s 30 years, and what drew her to the cause.

Dr. John G. Bartlett looks back on AIDS: A 30-year perspective

By on .

HIV specialist and leading infectious diseases physician John G. Bartlett, MD, doesn’t mince words when you ask him about what his AIDS patients faced in the early days of the epidemic.

“They were the scourge of society – people didn’t like them because they were either gay or injection drug users, and there was a fear of contagion, that if you were in the same room with someone with AIDS you might get AIDS… They had diarrhea and dementia and wasting. It was an awful way to die. And besides that, everyone around you hated you. Can you imagine living to die that way?”

Dr. Bartlett became a ray of hope for people living with HIV/AIDS. He directed some of the first clinical trials of new treatments that prevent HIV from replicating, and pioneered the development of dedicated in-patient and out-patient medical care for HIV-infected patients.

In our third interview in a Science Speaks series commemorating 30 years of AIDS, Dr. Bartlett speaks frankly about hiding his treatment of AIDS patients from hospital administrators in the early ‘80s, key scientific breakthroughs over the years, and his views on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program moving forward.

HIV/AIDS in Burundi: An advocate blazes the trail for access to care and treatment

By on .

The following is an interview with Jeanne Gapiya, founding president of the Association Nationale de Soutien aux Séropositifs et aux Malades du SIDA (National Association for the Support of People Living with HIV/AIDS), or ANSS, in Burundi. Gapiya gave the opening address at the United Nations’ hearing for members of civil society in April in anticipation […]