Sanofi-aventis signs New Agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to fight Neglected Tropical Diseases
Further $ 25 million donation raises prospects of eliminating sleeping sickness
Paris, France - - Sanofi-aventis (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) announced today it had signed a new agreement to donate $25 million, extending its decade-long partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) for another five years to control neglected tropical diseases, including the potentially fatal Human African Trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness. The agreement was signed today by Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofi-aventis, and Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director- General, at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The collaboration between sanofi-aventis and the WHO began in 2001 to battle neglected tropical diseases such as sleeping sickness, Leishmaniasis, Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease. Including today’s additional $25 million donation, the total contribution now amounts to $75 million. This new donation include medicines, as well as funding for professional training, disease awareness campaigns, logistics and infrastructure, with the ambition to eliminate sleeping sickness and combat other neglected tropical diseases.
“This third five-year commitment by sanofi-aventis comes at a time when prospects for controlling these difficult and dreaded diseases have never looked brighter,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director General. “In 2009, reported cases of sleeping sickness fell below the 10,000 figure. For the first time, the stage is set for the elimination of sleeping sickness, a prospect that was unthinkable a decade ago.”
“This successful partnership has provided the dedicated teams on the ground with the means to treat these neglected diseases,” declared Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofi aventis. “In renewing our partnership with the WHO, we look forward to the results we can achieve together to eliminate sleeping sickness on the African continent. We are committed to fulfil this ambition in line with our undertaking to act with all our partners to protect health and raise the hopes of patients”.
Since the start of the partnership in 2001, over 150,000 patients have been treated for sleeping sickness, a fatal disease if left untreated. The number of patients treated for sleeping sickness has dropped by over 60% since then. The number of reported new cases of the disease fell from 30,000 in 2001 to less than 10,000 in 2009.
About Neglected Tropical Diseases:
Human African trypanosomiasis (or sleeping sickness) is a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of an infected Glossina insect, commonly known as the tsetse fly. The disease affects mostly poor populations living in remote rural areas of Africa. Left untreated, human African trypanosomiasis is usually fatal.
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites, and transmitted by the bite of infected sandflies. It exists in two forms, a visceral form , affecting notably the liver and spleen, and a cutaneous form affecting the skin. 1.6 million new cases are estimated to occur annually.
Buruli ulcer, is a chronic necrotising skin disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium ulcerans. It has been reported from over 33 countries, with the principal foci situated in sub-Sahran Africa. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics can prevent the appearance of large ulcers, which take long periods to heal and may require hospitalisation.
Chagas disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and affects approximately 10 million the chronic phase, 30% of patients will develop cardiac disorders.
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY). For more information, please visit www.sanofi-aventis.com.
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