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TRICK or TREATment?

1. TRICK or TREATment? To combat malnutrition, scientists have created a naturally bred variety of corn that is rich in vitamin A.

TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TREATment
 
This one is as good as gold…or orange. Vitamin A corn—also known as orange corn for its distinct hue—was developed by HarvestPlus through biofortification, a natural process of improving the nutritional quality of food through plant breeding. Starchy staple crops like white corn are a major source of food in poor regions, but these crops often lack the micronutrients people need for good health. In developing countries, 25 percent of children under the age of five suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which increases their risk of blindness, measles, pneumonia, and diarrhea. Supplements can be beneficial but are often too expensive or unavailable in low-resource settings. Vitamin A corn is a sustainable approach that provides up to 25 percent of a child’s daily vitamin A intake, providing a healthy, well-nourished foundation for a child to survive and thrive.
 
Photo: HarvestPlus
Photo: HarvestPlus
Correct Answer: TREATment
 
This one is as good as gold…or orange. Vitamin A corn—also known as orange corn for its distinct hue—was developed by HarvestPlus through biofortification, a natural process of improving the nutritional quality of food through plant breeding. Starchy staple crops like white corn are a major source of food in poor regions, but these crops often lack the micronutrients people need for good health. In developing countries, 25 percent of children under the age of five suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which increases their risk of blindness, measles, pneumonia, and diarrhea. Supplements can be beneficial but are often too expensive or unavailable in low-resource settings. Vitamin A corn is a sustainable approach that provides up to 25 percent of a child’s daily vitamin A intake, providing a healthy, well-nourished foundation for a child to survive and thrive.
 
Photo: HarvestPlus
Photo: HarvestPlus
2. TRICK or TREATment? To combat drug-resistant infections, scientists have enlisted germ-eating microbes that invade harmful bacteria and eat them from the inside out.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TRICK, for now.
 
One could say it’s a bacteria-eat-bacteria world out there, but the science still has a long way to go on this one. Early studies have found that so-called “predatory” bacteria can be harnessed to attack resistant germs. In lab studies funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an organism called Bdellovibrio preyed upon 145 of the 168 human pathogens tested by invading larger bacteria, latching on tight, and eating them from the inside out. Researchers collected remaining “survivor” bacteria, allowing them to reproduce to see if they were able to mutate and resist attacks from Bdellovibrio; however, no direct mutants ever became resistant. Pathogens beware when Bdellovibrio is around!
 
Correct Answer: TRICK, for now.
 
One could say it’s a bacteria-eat-bacteria world out there, but the science still has a long way to go on this one. Early studies have found that so-called “predatory” bacteria can be harnessed to attack resistant germs. In lab studies funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an organism called Bdellovibrio preyed upon 145 of the 168 human pathogens tested by invading larger bacteria, latching on tight, and eating them from the inside out. Researchers collected remaining “survivor” bacteria, allowing them to reproduce to see if they were able to mutate and resist attacks from Bdellovibrio; however, no direct mutants ever became resistant. Pathogens beware when Bdellovibrio is around!
 
3. TRICK or TREATment? Europe’s regulatory authority issued this year a positive opinion on an exciting new HIV prevention product, a vaginal ring, similar in look and feel to a contraceptive ring, which can be inserted monthly and reduce a woman’s risk of HIV infection.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TREATment.

Earlier this year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a positive scientific opinion for the dapivirine microbicide vaginal ring—a discreet, self-initiated, long-acting tool to reduce a women’s risk of HIV infection. Women insert and replace the flexible ring each month as the ring slowly releases an antiretroviral drug called dapivirine. In 2016, the dapivirine ring was found to help reduce a women’s HIV risk in large-scale clinical trials. Following the EMA opinion, the ring’s developer, the International Partnership for Microbicides, is pursuing regulatory approval of the device in several African nations with the hopes of making the ring available in 2021 in some communities in Africa.

 
Photo: IPMPhoto: IPM
 
Correct Answer: TREATment.

Earlier this year, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a positive scientific opinion for the dapivirine microbicide vaginal ring—a discreet, self-initiated, long-acting tool to reduce a women’s risk of HIV infection. Women insert and replace the flexible ring each month as the ring slowly releases an antiretroviral drug called dapivirine. In 2016, the dapivirine ring was found to help reduce a women’s HIV risk in large-scale clinical trials. Following the EMA opinion, the ring’s developer, the International Partnership for Microbicides, is pursuing regulatory approval of the device in several African nations with the hopes of making the ring available in 2021 in some communities in Africa.

 
Photo: IPMPhoto: IPM
 
4. TRICK or TREATment? A mosquito-repellent paint has been created to offer protection against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TREATment.
 
Japanese company Kansai Plascon is hoping it can help communities paint out malaria. The company launched the world’s first mosquito-repellent paint in Zambia in late 2018. The paint technology, which has shown to be safe in humans, disrupts the nervous system of a mosquito upon contact, preventing them from flying or biting. The paint’s effects last for up to two years and provide lasting protection from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
 
Correct Answer: TREATment.
 
Japanese company Kansai Plascon is hoping it can help communities paint out malaria. The company launched the world’s first mosquito-repellent paint in Zambia in late 2018. The paint technology, which has shown to be safe in humans, disrupts the nervous system of a mosquito upon contact, preventing them from flying or biting. The paint’s effects last for up to two years and provide lasting protection from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
 
5. TRICK or TREATment? Administering the measles-rubella vaccine to children worldwide recently became a lot easier and pain-free with the use of microneedle patches—small Band Aid-like stickers with an array of small dissolvable needles that deliver a vaccine into skin without the pain of an injection.
TRICK
TREATment
Answer: TRICK, at least for now.
 
In the future, getting a vaccine or taking your medicine could be as easy as putting on a Band-Aid. While there is no such product on the market today, researchers are currently evaluating the use of microneedle patches, or microarray patches, for administering vaccines and drugs against a number of infectious diseases. These patches could offer several advantages, as they are pain-free, would minimize the amount of vaccine needed to confer immunity, and are easy to administer. In the context of a severe pandemic, in which an entire population may need to be rapidly immunized, they could even enable self-administration of vaccines, given they would not require advanced medical training or expertise to apply.
 
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern
 
Answer: TRICK, at least for now.
 
In the future, getting a vaccine or taking your medicine could be as easy as putting on a Band-Aid. While there is no such product on the market today, researchers are currently evaluating the use of microneedle patches, or microarray patches, for administering vaccines and drugs against a number of infectious diseases. These patches could offer several advantages, as they are pain-free, would minimize the amount of vaccine needed to confer immunity, and are easy to administer. In the context of a severe pandemic, in which an entire population may need to be rapidly immunized, they could even enable self-administration of vaccines, given they would not require advanced medical training or expertise to apply.
 
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern
 
6. TRICK or TREATment? Adults traveling to a tuberculosis (TB) endemic country need not worry, as they can head to their doctor or local clinic to receive a vaccine to protect them against this deadly disease.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TRICK
 
Unfortunately, this is not the case. While there is a TB vaccine on the market today, the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, there are significant limitations to its effectiveness and use. The BCG vaccine is largely effective at protecting infants and young children from the most serious forms of TB, but has little effect in preventing pulmonary TB, the most common form in adults. TB is currently the world’s leading infectious disease killer. New vaccines are urgently needed to bring this epidemic under control. While it could be several years until a new vaccine is available, there is reason for hope. Fifteen years ago, there was only one vaccine candidate in the clinical pipeline. Now, there are over ten.
Correct Answer: TRICK
 
Unfortunately, this is not the case. While there is a TB vaccine on the market today, the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, there are significant limitations to its effectiveness and use. The BCG vaccine is largely effective at protecting infants and young children from the most serious forms of TB, but has little effect in preventing pulmonary TB, the most common form in adults. TB is currently the world’s leading infectious disease killer. New vaccines are urgently needed to bring this epidemic under control. While it could be several years until a new vaccine is available, there is reason for hope. Fifteen years ago, there was only one vaccine candidate in the clinical pipeline. Now, there are over ten.
7. TRICK or TREATment? The Food and Drug Administration has approved a one-year contraceptive ring—the first and only contraceptive available that provides an entire year of protection against unintended pregnancy while fully under a woman’s control.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TREATment.
 
Approved in August 2018, Annovera is the first in a new class of contraceptives. Developed by Population Council, the device is a soft, reusable flexible silicone ring that a woman can insert and remove herself. It is intended to be left in place for 21 days, removed for seven days, and be used for up to a year. Importantly, it does not require refrigeration, making it particularly suitable for distribution and use in low-resource settings. The Population Council is continuing efforts to make Annovera available worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries where more than 218 million women have an unmet need for contraception.
 
Photo: Population Council/Hallie Easley
 
Photo: Population Council/Hallie Easley
 
Correct Answer: TREATment.
 
Approved in August 2018, Annovera is the first in a new class of contraceptives. Developed by Population Council, the device is a soft, reusable flexible silicone ring that a woman can insert and remove herself. It is intended to be left in place for 21 days, removed for seven days, and be used for up to a year. Importantly, it does not require refrigeration, making it particularly suitable for distribution and use in low-resource settings. The Population Council is continuing efforts to make Annovera available worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries where more than 218 million women have an unmet need for contraception.
 
Photo: Population Council/Hallie Easley
 
Photo: Population Council/Hallie Easley
 
8. TRICK or TREATment? To combat mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika, public health programs worldwide regularly release mosquitoes infected with a bacterium that prevents them from spreading disease.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TRICK, because this approach has only been used in studies under experimental protocol.
 
Scientists are testing whether infecting mosquitoes with a tiny bacterium called Wolbachia in a lab and releasing them into the wild can slow the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Wolbachia works by boosting a mosquito’s immune system, making it less likely to contract a virus. If a virus is contracted, it then makes it harder for the virus to multiply inside the insect and be transferred to humans. The hope is that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes will reproduce with wild mosquitoes, spreading the bacteria through the population, causing disease rates to plummet. A group called the World Mosquito Program has tested this approach with success in several trials across 12 countries in South America, Asia, and Australia, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has permitted testing to occur in communities in the United States under an experimental use permit. However, scaling up this strategy presents challenges. The Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes need to establish themselves in a variety of climates and be similar in resistance levels to local ones so that they cross breed. Additionally, this strategy will only work long-term if the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes do not develop a genetic mutation that provides resistance to this tactic.
 
Photo: Aedes aegypti, CDCPhoto: Aedes aegypti, CDC
 
Correct Answer: TRICK, because this approach has only been used in studies under experimental protocol.
 
Scientists are testing whether infecting mosquitoes with a tiny bacterium called Wolbachia in a lab and releasing them into the wild can slow the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Wolbachia works by boosting a mosquito’s immune system, making it less likely to contract a virus. If a virus is contracted, it then makes it harder for the virus to multiply inside the insect and be transferred to humans. The hope is that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes will reproduce with wild mosquitoes, spreading the bacteria through the population, causing disease rates to plummet. A group called the World Mosquito Program has tested this approach with success in several trials across 12 countries in South America, Asia, and Australia, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has permitted testing to occur in communities in the United States under an experimental use permit. However, scaling up this strategy presents challenges. The Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes need to establish themselves in a variety of climates and be similar in resistance levels to local ones so that they cross breed. Additionally, this strategy will only work long-term if the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes do not develop a genetic mutation that provides resistance to this tactic.
 
Photo: Aedes aegypti, CDCPhoto: Aedes aegypti, CDC
 
9. TRICK or TREATment? Palatable, fruit-flavored, child-friendly treatments for TB are now on the market to aid the 1 million children worldwide who develop active TB each year.
TRICK
TREATment
Correct Answer: TREATment.

Until recently, children diagnosed with TB had to rely on six months of foul-tasting, improperly formulated adult medicines to fight off the disease. This all changed with the introduction of child-friendly, fixed-dose combinations of first-line TB treatments. Developed by TB Alliance, these medicines are dissolvable in water, fruit-flavored to be palatable to children, and come in World Health Organization-recommended doses. Since these medicines were first launched in 2016, more than 116 countries have ordered over 1 million treatment courses. These countries represent 75 percent of the estimated childhood TB burden globally.

 
Photo: TB AlliancePhoto: TB Alliance
 
Correct Answer: TREATment.

Until recently, children diagnosed with TB had to rely on six months of foul-tasting, improperly formulated adult medicines to fight off the disease. This all changed with the introduction of child-friendly, fixed-dose combinations of first-line TB treatments. Developed by TB Alliance, these medicines are dissolvable in water, fruit-flavored to be palatable to children, and come in World Health Organization-recommended doses. Since these medicines were first launched in 2016, more than 116 countries have ordered over 1 million treatment courses. These countries represent 75 percent of the estimated childhood TB burden globally.

 
Photo: TB AlliancePhoto: TB Alliance
 
10. TRICK or TREATment?  Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first universal flu vaccine to protect against virtually all strains of seasonal and pandemic influenza, negating the need for annual flu shots.
TRICK
TREATment

Correct Answer: TRICK.

If you received your flu shot this fall, then you should know that this one is a TRICK. However, scientists hope to one day develop such a solution and are achieving small scientific victories toward that goal. Every day researchers are discovering new, creative ways to attack the structure of influenza viruses, and there are currently several vaccine candidates that are in or soon entering clinical trials. While many experts believe a truly “universal” flu vaccine—one that protects against all strains of flu and confers lifetime immunity—may prove elusive, the hope is to develop a vaccine that is highly effective against strains from both major influenza subgroups and which potentially yields protection for several years.

Correct Answer: TRICK.

If you received your flu shot this fall, then you should know that this one is a TRICK. However, scientists hope to one day develop such a solution and are achieving small scientific victories toward that goal. Every day researchers are discovering new, creative ways to attack the structure of influenza viruses, and there are currently several vaccine candidates that are in or soon entering clinical trials. While many experts believe a truly “universal” flu vaccine—one that protects against all strains of flu and confers lifetime immunity—may prove elusive, the hope is to develop a vaccine that is highly effective against strains from both major influenza subgroups and which potentially yields protection for several years.
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