Diseases in Thoughts from the Centre
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By Karen Taylor, Director, and Maria João Cruz, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rapid testing of patients who meet the suspected case definition for COVID-19 is a priority for determining the clinical management and policy response to control the outbreak.1 Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is critical to track the spread of this novel virus, understand its epidemiology, inform health managers of each case, and suppress transmission.2 Currently, different countries have implemented different testing strategies, depending on the availability of diagnostics kits and reagents, and on the capacity and capability of the healthcare system. However, there has been a global call to increase the speed and capacity for testing to help isolate cases and flatten the peak. This week’s blog explores the importance of testing, what tests can be done and which are already available.
By Karen Taylor, Director, Centre for Health Solutions
Our previous reports have highlighted the increasing number of innovations that have led to life-saving and life-enhancing clinical treatments and how, over the past 30 or so years, healthcare has moved from treating infectious or communicable diseases to managing a ‘tidal wave’ of complex age and behaviour related, non-communicable, diseases.1 This transition was made possible by the development and widespread use of vaccines and antibiotics which dramatically reduced the prevalence and improved outcomes for most infectious diseases. Today, this scenario has been turned on its head as people across the world face the unrelenting human and economic impact from a novel, infectious, coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (named COVID-19 disease). On 11th March the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and the biopharma industry is now in a race to develop both preventive and therapeutic interventions.
By Karen Taylor and Krissie Ferris, Centre for Health Solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting billions of citizens and millions of healthcare staff across the world. The UK Government’s healthcare response has largely been focussed on helping the NHS’s to manage, as far as possible, the predicted increase in hospital demand. This includes social distancing and lockdowns to minimise the spread of infections; building more hospital capacity; and procuring the diagnostic, personal protection equipment and treatments to deal with those who do become infected. Meanwhile, healthcare providers are having to re-consider how best to meet the needs of patients who fear they may have COVID-19, as well as the many others who require new and ongoing support, advice and treatments, while at the same time reducing the need for face to face consultations. As a result, many providers are rapidly embracing digital technologies to triage, support and, where possible, treat patients remotely and help clinicians work more effectively.
By Maria João Cruz, Research Analyst, and Dr Francesca Properzi, PhD, Research Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
February 29, a pretty rare date, was this year’s Rare Disease Day, a campaign to raise awareness among the public and policy makers on rare diseases and how they impact the lives of patients and their loved ones.1 Indeed, the advocacy, commitment and tenacity of rare disease patient organisations have played a critical role in elevating ‘rare diseases’ as an emerging global public health priority. Particularly in advocating for legislation to develop drugs and treatment programmes that will meet patients’ needs. In today’s blog we highlight the importance of rare diseases and, in particular, the opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) tools offer to speed-up the discovery of new treatments.
By Maria João Cruz, Research Analyst, Centre for Health Solutions
Tuesday, 4th February, was the 20th World Cancer Day, a day that unites people, communities and entire countries to raise awareness and take action to reduce the global burden and impact of cancer. This year marks the mid-point of a three year campaign, led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), ‘I Am and I Will’. This campaign is seen as an empowering ‘call-to-action’, urging everyone to commit personally to taking action now to impact the future.1 Today, I want to share with you my reflections on the importance of this day.
By Dr Mark Steedman, PhD, Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
The moustache has a fascinating history – popular at times, eschewed at others, but always competing in the popularity stakes against the beard. From a fashion symbol popularised by monarchs of the past, to practical restrictions on beards but not moustaches because of press articles linking germs with beards and rules preventing bearded men from handling food. As a result, the popularity of the beard versus the moustache has ebbed and flowed.1 I’ve seen this even in my own lifetime. While there were a few famous moustaches that adorned the faces of Hollywood stars and musicians, for the most part, the 1990s saw the moustache fall seriously out of fashion.
By Mark Steedman, PhD, Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
I woke up in late March with a severe cough and could hear myself wheezing with each breath. It was worrying. The London Marathon was just over a month away, and I had spent the previous two months training for it; the next month was going to be critical. I needed to recover quickly to get back to training if I wanted to participate in the race. Similar asthma-like symptoms had been brought on by a cold a few years before, and although I know that I don’t suffer from asthma, I knew from experience it would be an uphill battle to get back to full strength. It also made me more sensitive to those people I know who do have asthma. For the next two weeks I struggled with intermittent coughing, sleepless nights and a general feeling of dread that I wouldn’t recover in time. However, as you learned from last week’s blog, I finished the marathon, but I also learned a lot about asthma and other respiratory diseases along the way. Earlier this week was World Asthma Day, so this week’s blog looks at the impact asthma has on people around the world.
By Mark Steedman, PhD, Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
This week’s blog returns to our series on eye health, which we began in advance of the launch of a global report on eye health at the November 2018 World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH). Our first blog in the series focused on glaucoma, while our second blog examined new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This blog focuses on diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that can damage the back of the eye and lead to blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.
By Greg Reh, vice chairman, US and Global Life Sciences leader, Deloitte LLP
This week’s blog, by Deloitte’s global Life Sciences leader Greg Reh, first appeared on the US Center for Health Solutions blog site.1 The blog presents his take on the findings from our 2018 Measuring the return from pharmaceutical innovation 2018 report, and what strategies pharma can use to improve their return on investment from R&D.
By Mark Steedman, PhD. Research Manager, Centre for Health Solutions
This week’s blog is the third in our series focusing on eye health, which we developed in support of a global policy report that was launched this week at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH). Our first blog in the series focused on glaucoma, while our second examined new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This latest blog focuses on the main findings and recommendations of the full report Bright future: A new vision for eye health.