Innovating for children's health
Children face greater risk of infection, illness, and death from infectious diseases than adults, yet every year, millions of children face debilitating illness or die due to a lack of appropriate paediatric medicines. In the profit-driven model of drug development, children have long been an afterthought. Clinical trials of treatment formulations for children may be delayed for years following trials in adults, or never happen at all.
Clinical research that ensures new treatments are safe and effective for kids is crucial because children are not small adults; they need medicines in appropriate doses as they grow, as well as drug formulations that are adapted for their age.
At DNDi, we believe that decisive action and broad-based collaboration on access and availability of paediatric medicines are central to achieving the 2030 health targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including reducing deaths of infants and children under five, ending neglected disease epidemics, and ensuring access to treatment for people of all ages.
Our commitment to children is rooted in our history. Since 2003, DNDi has developed four affordable treatments for malaria, Chagas disease, and HIV – specifically designed for children that have saved millions of lives – as well as treatments for sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis proven suitable for both children and adults. Our 2021-2028 Strategic Plan expands and strengthens our paediatric R&D portfolio by including children early in clinical development planning to target safer, simpler, child-adapted treatments.
In 2021, we concluded preparations to start a new clinical trial testing a new single-dose paediatric formulation of acoziborole for both stages of sleeping sickness caused by T.b. gambiense. We also renewed our commitment to support broader efforts to bolster sustainable, child-inclusive approaches to R&D by joining the WHO Global Accelerator for Paediatric Formulations (GAP-f), a global network of more than 30 partners working to identify gaps, set priorities, remove barriers, and accelerate the development of appropriate, quality, affordable, and accessible medicines for children. DNDi will continue to do our part to address critical gaps in paediatric R&D to ensure that every child enjoys their full right to health and access to safe, effective treatment.
Photo credit: Kishore Pandit-DNDi
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