Essential medicines and health products

WHO outlines requirements for rapid cholera tests to prevent major outbreaks

In order to treat cholera and quickly stem a potential outbreak, it is important to have a rapid and accurate diagnosis, particularly in countries with weak health systems and sanitation, which are the ones most vulnerable to outbreaks of the disease. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for cholera exist, but recent published evaluations show their accuracy is not optimal.
To that end, WHO has developed a target product profile, describing the type of assays and their key attributes that are needed in the efforts to detect a cholera outbreak. The target product profile can be used in development of a new diagnostic assay as it provides a clear and tangible vision and focus for product development.

WHO prequalifies indoor residual spray for vector control

WHO has prequalified SumiShield 50WG as an indoor residual spray intended to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This development provides procurement agencies and countries with a new tool to prevent the transmission of vector-borne diseases like malaria.

New WHO report confirms world is running out of antibiotics

A new report launched on 19 September finds that very few antibiotics currently in development address the serious and growing threat of antimicrobial resistance. “Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis” shows that most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions. The report found very few potential treatment options for drug-resistant tuberculosis and 12 other classes of priority pathogens identified by WHO.

Efforts to expand access to medicines in Africa must be intensified

A five year project to increase access to medicines in 15 African countries ends this month with some important achievements but also many challenges ahead. The EC/ACP/WHO Renewed Partnership project began in 2012 with EUR 10 million funding from the European Commission to build stronger pharmaceutical systems in 15 African countries. It brought about many improvements, such as greater availability of child-friendly medicines, particularly for HIV, TB and malaria, faster time to registration for some vital medicines, and some progress towards universal health coverage (i.e. coverage of health expenses for the whole community).

More than EUR 56 million raised to combat antibiotic resistance


A number of countries and foundations today pledged EUR 56.5 million to help develop new treatments to fight against antibiotic resistance at a fundraising event for the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP). The meeting was hosted in Berlin by the German Federal Ministry of Health and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

GARDP was established in May 2016 as a non-profit research and development initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Funding will support GARDP’s four programme areas.

WHO Prequalifies key treatment for children with TB

WHO has just prequalified a two-pills-in-one paediatric medicine that is critical for the continuation phase of the six-month treatment required to cure tuberculosis (TB). The medicine – rifampicin 75mg + isoniazid 50mg – is a fixed dose combination (FDC) tablet manufactured by Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited. WHO medicines prequalification activities are partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and by Unitaid.

WHO prequalifies first generic hepatitis C medicine and first HIV self-test


In the lead-up to the Paris AIDS Conference and World Hepatitis Day, WHO has prequalified two priority products to tackle both HIV and hepatitis C. The first WHO-listed generic sofosbuvir could extend treatment for this major disease to many more patients. And the first WHO-prequalified HIV self-test will improve diagnosis in low-resourced health systems and in countries where stigma prevents people from getting tested.

The WHO essential medicines and health products programme works to increase access to essential, high-quality, safe, effective and affordable medical products.

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