Top global health professionals meet to share the latest research and innovations around malaria, diarrhea, and other tropical diseases
Nearly 90 PATH staff will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, to learn and share with the world's top experts at the 65th annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), happening November 13–17. Attracting more than 4,400 tropical medicine and global health professionals from all sectors, the conference provides an ideal forum for advancing the latest research, clinical discoveries, and thought leadership in the field.
Over five days, PATH experts from around the world will present new research and join discussions on malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and diarrheal disease. With more than 50 presentations, posters, and panels, PATH staff will share key findings on topics including malaria control and elimination efforts; developments in diagnostics and vaccines; and public health insights from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Zambia, and other countries.
PATH attendees will share updates with the public via Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. See details below.
An integrated approach to malaria elimination
Innovations in prevention, case management, diagnosis, and treatment are paving the way to malaria elimination. These innovations—many of which PATH pioneered—saved approximately 6.2 million lives between 2001 and 2015. Elimination is crucial, as the malaria parasites and the mosquitos that transmit them are developing resistance to current tools. At this critical juncture, we have an opportunity to curtail emerging threats and recurring costs and end the devastation of this disease on families, communities, and countries.
Through numerous poster and presentation sessions, PATH will share exciting advancements in our unparalleled portfolio of malaria projects under the umbrella of PATH's Center for Malaria Control and Elimination (CMCE)—including projects across diagnostics, vaccines, drugs, health system strengthening, and groundbreaking strategies for accelerating elimination. Presentations will highlight the development of tools to evaluate transmission-blocking vaccines, new tools for improved diagnosis (including progress on new tests for a common hereditary condition in humans that can complicate treatment for Plasmodium vivax), genetic approaches to inform malaria programming, data visualization, and targeted strategies to stop the disease's spread.
Addressing neglected tropical diseases
PATH is co-organizing and participating in several sessions on the need to develop new diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for the millions of patients affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including filarial diseases such as onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). PATH staff will present on three new rapid diagnostic tests for filarial infections codeveloped by Standard Diagnostics/Alere with the support of PATH.
Innovations to defeat diarrheal disease
Diarrheal disease remains a leading cause of death and illness among children under five. In high-burden settings where medical care may be limited, prevention through vaccination is key. PATH is hosting two symposia that provide data on the latest efforts to develop vaccines against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) and Shigella, which are leading bacterial forms of diarrhea.
PATH coleads (with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh) the Diarrhea Innovations Group (DIG), a global network committed to reducing the burden of diarrhea through new diagnostics, therapeutics, and nutrition interventions. DIG will meet during ASTMH to discuss key research questions around environmental enteric dysfunction.
Beginning on Sunday, Nov. 13, the Making Malaria History blog by PATH's Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) program will be sharing posts about malaria elimination submitted by ASTMH members as part of this year's conference blog series.
Monday, Nov. 14, 12-1:30 p.m. EST: Rick Steketee, project director for MACEPA, and Ashley Birkett, director of the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, will participate in the #TropMed16 malaria Twitter chat hosted by the President's Malaria Initiative. Dr. Steketee will be answering questions about the "pathway to malaria eradication" through the @macepa_tweets handle, and Dr. Birkett will answer questions about new tools like vaccines through the @MalariaVaccine handle.
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 3-4 p.m. EST: Larry Slutsker, director of PATH's malaria and NTD programs, will participate in a #TropMed16 Twitter chat focusing on elimination challenges across different disease areas. Dr. Slutsker will be taking questions on "sustaining momentum in the 'Last Mile'" through the @PATHtweets Twitter handle in the 3:30-3:45 p.m. "Last Mile" portion of the chat.
Throughout the conference: PATH's Defeat Diarrheal Disease Initiative (@DefeatDD) will tweet diarrhea-related updates using the hashtag #DefeatDD and will also feature short videos of scientists reading ASTMH and research-inspired "poo haikus" to generate greater visibility of innovative efforts underway to defeat diarrheal disease.