Entries for month: February 2011
"Today's cholera is not your grandfather's cholera," said ASTMH President Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, at yesterday's briefing at the Russell Senate Office Building. With cholera outbreaks spreading faster and lasting longer, this briefing was an opportunity to help Senate staffers get up to speed on the facts about this disease with a name that many have heard but few know much about. Science News reporter Nathan Seppa moderated the panel, which included Hotez; Edward T. Ryan, MD, DTM&H, ASTMH past president and Director, Tropical Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Louise Ivers, MD, MPH, Chief of Mission for Partners in Health. In addition to covering the basics about the disease, Ryan pointed out that "cholera, like other neglected tropical diseases, are also global security issues for the United States." Ivers delivered a first-person report, having returned from Haiti just the evening before. She reminded everyone that more than 4,500 people have needlessly died from cholera in just four months. Read a brief FAQ on cholera and a fact sheet on the Capitol Hill briefing.
On Feb. 15, President Obama released his fiscal year 2012 budget request--a $3.73 trillion budget that he said "would reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over a decade while making investments in education, infrastructure and technology."
Under the proposal, overall spending would be 2.7 percent less than the $3.8 trillion budget Obama proposed for this current fiscal year 2011. (Congress has not yet finished its work on the FY11 budget.)
The FY2012 plan would trim the deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years, with two-thirds of the savings coming from spending cuts and one-third from tax increases. The spending reductions include a five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending (which includes the NIH, CDC and USAID budgets), saving an estimated $400 billion over 10 years. Republican lawmakers immediately criticized the budget plan as not cutting deeply enough.
The spending plan does not include any significant proposed changes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, which account for more than half of federal spending and are considered by many to be the primary drivers of the rising national debt.
The specifics on the FY2012 are not yet available, but some early released figures are telling (Note you will see varying numbers reported due to rounding, reporting variances, etc.):
- The NIH budget request is $32 billion, an increase of $740 million over FY2010, an increase of approximately 2.4 percent.
- The NIAID budget request is $4.6 billion.
- The Fogarty request is $71 million, a slight increase over the FY2010 level of $69.9 million.
- CDC is slated for a cut--$5.893 billion for FY2012 vs. $6.467 billion in FY2010.
- Overall, however, CDC's budget appears different with the combining of some programs and elimination of others.
- The Zoonotic Vector-Borne and Enteric Diseases Program now appears to be combined with the Preparedness, Detection and Control of Infectious Disease Program, resulting in the Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Program.
- CDC Global Health is slated to get $381 million, an increase from $336 million in FY2010.
- The Global Malaria Program is now the Parasitic Diseases and Malaria Program and now includes some neglected tropical disease (NTD) work.
- The Global Disease Detection Program is now the Global Disease and Emergency Response Program.
- There is now an official line for Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
- USAID Global Health and Child Survival funding increases, from $7.8 million in FY2010 to $8.7 million in FY2012.
- The NTD program receives $100 million, an increase from $65 million in FY2010.
- Maternal and Child Health receives $846 million, an increase from $585 million in FY2010.
- Malaria receives $691 million, an increase from $585 million in FY2010.
- HIV/AIDS funding stays even with FY2010, at $350 million.
- TB receives $236 million, an increase from $225 million in FY2010.
Meanwhile, you may ask, what about fiscal year 2011?
The federal government is operating on a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) that fund the government at FY2010 levels. Essentially, the 111th Congress went home in Dec. 2010 without making a final decision on the FY2011 budget, leaving it to the new, 112th Congress to decide when it convened in Jan. 2011.
On Feb. 11, 2011, the House Republican Appropriations Committee released its recommendations for funding for the remainder of FY2011. Their long-term CR contains over $100 billion in cuts vs. the president's FY2011 budget proposal, including over $1 billion in cuts to NIH and CDC, plus $1.5 billion in cuts to Global Health and Child Survival at USAID. This proposal is just the first step, as the Senate--which is not expected to be as harsh in its cutting--must produce its own version of the CR. The two versions must then be reconciled and sent to the president to be signed into law--or vetoed.
At the end of the day, Congress must address the unfinished budget of the current fiscal year AND make decisions on the next year, which starts Oct. 1, 2011.
Stay tuned. The release of the president's new budget signals only the beginning of the budget decision-making process.
The scientific community lost an outstanding and distinguished scientist (and old-school helminthologist) who ended his active research career at Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg (Germany) in April 2010. Dietrich W. Büttner died January 17, 2011, at the age of 77. He was a lifetime member of the ASTMH and one of the world’s leading experts on onchocerciasis and other filarial infections.
He started his field research in Guinea (West Africa) in 1964 and continued long-term field projects in Liberia, Burkina Faso, the Yemen, Uganda and Ghana until 2002. He was a lecturer at Makerere University in Kampala (Uganda) from 1969-71. D.W. Büttner was a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) in West Africa and of the Advisory Committee of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) from 1971-1997. In 1986 he acted as Chairman of the WHO Expert Committee on Onchocerciasis.
D.W. Büttner contributed a great deal of knowledge about morphology and biology of filarial nematodes and developed important basic helminthological techniques. He characterized many filarial proteins by immunolocalization, studied pathogenesis of Onchocerca volvulus infection (onchocercomas, skin, eye pathology) and performed epidemiological and chemotherapy studies. Recently he had been focussing on the biological and immunological role of the Wolbachia endobacteria residing in many filarial species and their role as alternative target for anti-filarial treatment. One of his future visions was the enhanced therapeutic exploitation of helminth products to treat human immune disorders and other diseases.
D.W. Büttner was an exceptionally gifted, highly regarded teacher at Bernhard Nocht Institute in his long-standing courses on tropical medicine. He guided 40 doctoral dissertations and was teacher, advisor and collaborator to many onchocerciasis and filariasis researchers from Germany, Africa and around the world. His sharp mind, dry humor and huge enthusiasm for parasitic worms will be missed by many scientists in the field.
Submitted by Peter U. Fischer, Ph.D., and Dr. Norbert Brattig
ASTMH is pleased to announce the First Peru Conference of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene will be held February 16, 2011, at the "Daniel A. Carrión" Convention Center, Peruvian Medical Board of Physicians in Miraflores, Lima, Peru.
Download informational poster in Spanish or in English for details.
This joint collaboration will feature Peruvian scientific work presented at the 59th ASTMH Annual Meeting held in Atlanta, in November 2010. Peru was well represented at the November conference with 60 posters, 15 oral presentations and six symposia.
Esteemed partners in this international collaboration are:
- The National Institute of Health (INS) is a Ministry of Health agency dedicated to study health priority problems and technological development.
- The Tropical Medicine Institute "Alexander Von Humboldt" Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, founded in 1968, contributes to the solution of national health problems, especially in the area of infectious and tropical diseases.
- The Tropical Medicine Institute "Daniel A. Carrion," Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, founded in 1963, is a leading institution in infectious and tropical disease Research in Peru.
- Fogarty Training Program 2-D43-TW007393, Peruvian Consortium for Training and Epidemiological Research, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, USA, started in 2005 with a goal to develop sustainable research capacities in Peru and South America.
- The U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit, NAMRU-6, Peru, formerly NMRCD, founded in 1983, conducts research on and surveillance of a wide range of infectious diseases that threaten military operations in the region.
This collaborative effort will enable the partners to share with the Peruvian scientific community the work that Peruvian and foreign colleagues presented at the 59th ASTMH meeting in Atlanta based on collaborative studies conducted in Peru. In addition, it will promote research locally by disseminating the work conducted by Peruvians and collaborators and bring together Peruvian research groups in the tropical medicine field to better consolidate leadership and preparation of new cadres of infectious disease researchers.