The majority of the world's population lives under unacceptable healthcare conditions. Though hardly known in the developed world, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) afflict 1 in 6 people, or approximately 1.4 billion individuals. NTDs are severely debilitating, lower cognitive function in children, and hamper economic development. Despite their prevalence, NTDs remain largely overlooked by the pharmaceutical industry due to their lack of profitability.
Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD) is a non-profit 501c3 research organization created to discover new treatments and diagnostics that affect predominantly vulnerable populations.
Eliminating Diseases and Importance of Diagnostics
At DDTD we embrace the ideal of eliminating diseases that do not belong to the 21st century, especially those due to parasitic worms. Diagnostics are critical to support all stages of disease elimination programs. Diagnostics are used to (1) map a disease and plan the fight – the first step towards eliminating a disease, (2) monitor the progress of interventions such as mass-drug administration or vaccination programs, (3) decide when interventions can be safely halted, and (4) implement post-intervention surveillance program to ensure that the disease is not reemerging.
Though Zika and Ebola were not targeted for elimination, more robust surveillance networks, supported by sensitive diagnostics, would have prevented the recent crises.
Current Focus and Recent Progress
Contrary to other medical innovations, our goal is to integrate the latest scientific advances into ultra-low cost devices or treatments. Our lead product detects exposure to the African eye-worm, which affects 10 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. As of April 2018, 35,000 of our rapid tests are being tested in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Gabon. Our pipeline features new diagnostics for lymphatic filariasis and river blindness, two diseases that are the object of massive international elimination programs. We believe we made remarkable progress in the last 3 years (see video below).
The field testing of our is an international effort coordinated by the Task Force for Global Health and executed by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, the Cameroonian Centre de Recherche sur les Filarioses et autres Maladies Tropicales, and the Gabon Ministry of Health.
Health Specialist Kenny Goldberg of KBPS, San Diego 's main news station, reports on our efforts. See above the TV segment aired by KBPS on June 19, 2015 or click here to be redirected to KPBS accompanying article. Since then, we have exceeded our fundraising goals, completed the development of the device, and have deployed the devices in the field with the support from our above-mentioned partners.