A prominent theme in this month’s issue is that of the importance of the development and dissemination of guidelines. In a health in action paper Holger Schunemann and colleagues describe the development and pilot testing of a systematic and transparent approach by WHO to develop rapid advice guidelines about the pharmacological management of H5N1 avian influenza infection; the editorial comments on this paper and the new revision of the International Health Regulations. Incidentally, the WHO paper has an unprecedented number of translations also available – 17 in total, in languages ranging from German to Laos. This is the highest number of translations we have seen for a single article since we started encouraging them; sadly we don’t have any for the editorial yet – if anyone feels moved to translate it themselves, under our license they are of course free to do so. The dissemination and development of guidelines also comes up in another health in action article from Italy which discusses the Italian Drug Agency’s effort to ensure that physicians have access to reliable independent evidence on drug effectiveness and safety. Another paper by Geoffrey Lomax and colleagues discusses the principles that guided the medical and ethical standards of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which recently received $3 billion over 10 years in public funding of stem cell research. Guidelines are also important in the promotion of diseases that can tend to be overlooked; in an essay Peter Barnes discusses one such disease, COPD.
Archives for May 2007
It’s 20 years since a number of individuals at Médecins Sans Frontières, (MSF), the international humanitarian aid organisation that provides emergency medical assistance to populations in danger in more than 70 countries, came up with the idea of Epicentre, (allegedly after a few bottles of wine!) to give scientific support to MSF field activities through research and epidemiology. Since then Epicentre has expanded to also have a role in training field workers in public health and epidemiology. To celebrate 20 years Epicentre organized two days of scientific presentations covering a wide range of topics, from the results of a trial of Artemether/Lumefantrine in uncomplicated malaria during pregnancy in Epicentre’s research centre in Mbarara, Uganda, to the outcome of mental health treatment for street children and adolescents at an MSF Day care centre in
The Department of Health, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK have recently announced their policies to mandate open access to the published results of the research that they fund.
The PLoS Medicine editors have received a lot of email about lethal injection since we published a research article finding that drugs used in executions may cause more suffering than expected.
The goal of universal registration of clinical trials has been long in gestation, but it now looks as if a healthy delivery is not far off.
On 4th May, the World Health Organization launched its clinical trial search portal. This website acts as a single point of access to information about ongoing and completed trials worldwide, and allows allows researchers, clinicians, and members of the public to freely search across multiple registries to find studies relevant to them. Only registries fulfilling the World Health Organization’s agreed standards are included in the portal; at present, the Australian Clinical Trials Registry, ClinicalTrials.gov and the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register are primary data providers.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Because we believe this to be true, we would like to build a gallery of images to showcase the extraordinary work being done in the NTDs community. The goal is to not only provide a visual representation of the burden of these diseases, but also include pictures of hope for the future.
If you are doing work within the NTDs community, and would like to share your original photographs, e-mail them to gallery [at] plos.org.