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Data Sharing Aids the Fight Against Malaria 42

ananyo writes "Two years ago, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it would release details of about 13,500 molecules that had already been shown to inhibit the malaria-causing Plasmodium falciparum parasite to some degree. The molecular structures were published in May 2010, along with similar data from Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, and the St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Researchers were encouraged to test the combined library of more than 20,000 compounds to pinpoint potential drugs, and then find out how they work so that the molecules could be tweaked to enhance their activity. Such 'open innovation' efforts have since been launched, including an effort unveiled last month which will see 11 companies sharing their intellectual property. But are such efforts working? The answer, judging by the GSK effort, seems to be a cautious 'yes.'"
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Data Sharing Aids the Fight Against Malaria

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  • Sharing IP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goodgod43 ( 1993368 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:10PM (#39040933)

    Actually makes the world a better place. Go figure.

    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @11:19PM (#39040975) Journal

      I, as the sole owner of 3 patents, as well as share ownership of several more patents, have no problem with the concept of IP

      However, I do have problem with the way IP has been used to hinder the progress of the innovation and the restriction of information flow, which damages the society as a whole

      • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
        It has gotten even worse than that. Patents have been used by large corporations to engage in anti-competitive behavior.
        • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

          It has gotten even worse than that. Patents have been used by large corporations to engage in anti-competitive behavior.

          This is what Jim Humble has said over and over. Protocols using MMS [] have proven successful, yet the FDA refuses to investigate any of the claims without hundreds of millions of dollars. Look at all the drugs being hawked on TV, the glibness of the caveats shows that profits outweigh safety. Properly made MMS can effect the health of anyone in a positive manner.
          I, myself made repeated visits to a VA hospital for a recurring leg infection. The approved course consisted of Vancomycin, both IV for four to five

      • by EnempE ( 709151 )
        Your name is Taco Cowboy in this instance is quite ironic. I realize that it is homage, but still it did make me think that your patents are for things like "bands of rubber" or a "watch wrist" or something.

        No disrespect intended, just sharing my giggle.

        I 100% agree with you. The intent of these things was to improve the sharing of information, so that people would share information without the fear of getting ripped off. It has gone off the rails completely.
    • by artor3 ( 1344997 )

      In some cases.

      The fact that sharing IP can be a good thing does not mean that everyone should be required to give away all of their IP all the time.

      • The fact that sharing IP can be a good thing does not mean that everyone should be required to give away all of their IP all the time.

        Umm ...

        Where did you get the idea that IP holders are required to give away all their IP all the time?

        As an IP holder my only fear is that the patents that I own would be mis-used by others

        If someone is to file a new patent on top of the research (and/or idea) that my own patent(s) were based upon - such as an refinement / enhancement - then it would be dealt on the case by case basis

        Should I object?

        On what ground can I object?

        Will I object?

        Things like that get complicated that is why at times I need to con

  • Well, the reason why companies wish to protect intellectual property is to keep it to themselves. The fact that others were able to use it means that it has a value.
    Companies patent and otherwise protect things on which they can profit.
    In the BBC version of "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a bunch of philosopher were given the idea that they should patent ways of thinking and ideas. Many years prior to seeing that segment, I asked "Why can't physisists and mathematicians patent their ideas much like
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They will do this cos any Anti-Malarial drug in large parts of Asia and Africa will be under price control. These pesky insects are not the "white" man's disease anymore. So not worth their time and research dollars. So it's not really benevolent, it's a calculated ploy to earn "good will" for use elsewhere. Like hiding those pesky test data which kills a few thousand people.
  • That's great, but once we've eradicated malaria how will we get rid of the data-sharing AIDS?

    • by EnempE ( 709151 )
      Don't worry, the MPAA, RIAA, many large organizations and government officials working hard to get rid of data-sharing AIDS on the Internet as we speak.
  • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @01:32AM (#39041625)'s called DDT. Contrary to the lies of Rachel Carlson's "Silent Spring", DDT is safe, effective, and non-toxic to humans and animals. []

    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck ( 811747 )

      dead on correct. Rachael Carson has killed more people than Hitler.

      • I find that hard to believe, when you take into account that mosquitos were already resistant [] to DDT years before the substance was banned. In fact, the prohibitions on DDT explicitly included exemptions for malaria prevention. The book had nothing to do with the disuse of DDT against mosquitos.
        • Your wikipedia cite notes that DDT was an effective deterrent to even resistant mosquitos:

          "DDT can still be effective against resistant mosquitoes, and the avoidance of DDT-sprayed walls by mosquitoes is an additional benefit of the chemical. For example, a 2007 study reported that resistant mosquitoes avoided treated huts"

          Rachel Carson's lies about DDT in "Silent Spring" were enough to scare the world away from a safe, effective chemical, regardless of any specific policy recommendations she did or didn't

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )'s called DDT. Contrary to the lies of Rachel Carlson's "Silent Spring", DDT is safe, effective, and non-toxic to humans and animals. []

      And the one excepted and legal use of DDT now is to kill malaria carrying mosquitoes, at least those few that haven't developed resistance to DDT. Where this meme that DDT can't be used for controlling malaria started I don't know but would guess it started as misinformation for political purposes. []

      As for its toxicity, while one of the safer organ-chlorides it should still be used in moderation, eg only when actually needed as it only slowly breaks down and

      • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:43AM (#39042107)

        And the one excepted and legal use of DDT now is to kill malaria carrying mosquitoes,

        I refer you, dear sir, to the wonderful documentary "Not evil, just wrong." - []

        "In 2006, after 25 years and 50 million preventable deaths, the World Health Organization reversed course and endorsed widespread use of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria. So much for that. Earlier this month, the U.N. agency quietly reverted to promoting less effective methods for attacking the disease. The result is a victory for politics over public health, and millions of the world's poor will suffer as a result.

        The U.N. now plans to advocate for drastic reductions in the use of DDT, which kills or repels the mosquitoes that spread malaria. The aim "is to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT worldwide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s, if not sooner," said WHO and the U.N. Environment Program in a statement on May 6.
        Citing a five-year pilot program that reduced malaria cases in Mexico and South America by distributing antimalaria chloroquine pills to uninfected people, U.N. officials are ready to push for a "zero DDT world." Sounds nice, except for the facts. It's true that chloroquine has proven effective when used therapeutically, as in Brazil. But it's also true that scientists have questioned the safety of the drug as an oral prophylactic because it is toxic and has been shown to cause heart problems.

        Most malarial deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where chloroquine once worked but started failing in the 1970s as the parasite developed resistance. Even if the drugs were still effective in Africa, they're expensive and thus impractical for one of the world's poorest regions. That's not an argument against chloroquine, bed nets or other interventions. But it is an argument for continuing to make DDT spraying a key part of any effort to eradicate malaria, which kills about a million people -- mainly children -- every year. Nearly all of this spraying is done indoors, by the way, to block mosquito nesting at night. It is not sprayed willy-nilly in jungle habitat.

        WHO is not saying that DDT shouldn't be used. But by revoking its stamp of approval, it sends a clear message to donors and afflicted countries that it prefers more politically correct interventions, even if they don't work as well. In recent years, countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia have started or expanded DDT spraying, often with the help of outside aid groups. But these governments are also eager to remain in the U.N.'s good graces, and donors typically are less interested in funding interventions that WHO discourages. "

        Sadly, WHO's about-face has nothing to do with science or health and everything to do with bending to the will of well-placed environmentalists," says Roger Bate of Africa Fighting Malaria. "Bed net manufacturers and sellers of less-effective insecticides also don't benefit when DDT is employed and therefore oppose it, often behind the scenes."

        It's no coincidence that WHO officials were joined by the head of the U.N. Environment Program to announce the new policy. There's no evidence that spraying DDT in the amounts necessary to kill dangerous mosquitoes imperils crops, animals or human health. But that didn't stop green groups like the Pesticide Action Network from urging the public to celebrate World Malaria Day last month by telling "the U.S. to protect children and families from malaria without spraying pesticides like DDT inside people's homes."

        "We must take a position based on the science and the data," said WHO's malaria chief, Arata Kochi, in 2006. "One of the best tools we have against malaria is indoor residual spraying. Of the dozen or so insecticides WHO has approved as safe for house spraying, the most effective is DDT." Mr. Kochi was right then, even if other WHO officials are now bowing to pressure to pretend otherwise."

    • We know how to cure Malaria, too... with Olive Leaf Extract []. Known of for centuries before the discovery of Quinine, it has long been used to treat the condition [].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A scientist found a way to produce artemisinin cheaper and the Gates Foundation helped fund his research. The new process should make artemisinin available to many people who could not afford it and could save many lives. This compound has also been looked at as an anti cancer agent. Now if someone will just fund clinical trials to provide some scientific evidence to see if it is an effective treatment for cancer as it is for malaria.

  • The effort to eradicate malaria is also currently under way through distributed research platforms such BOINC. The Zeitgeist Movement (of up to a million 'followers' worldwide) invite you to pull up a virtual chair and contribute your idle CPU time: [] Stats: [] Malaria must go during the transition to a resource based economic model: (1) []
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now that AIDS has turned to piracy, will ICE take the matter more seriously?

  • But are such efforts working? The answer, judging by the GSK effort, seems to be a cautious 'yes.'

    Another way to make money by being "open" is to blow billions researching 10K molecules and discovering its a dead end, realize you're F'd unless you can convince the competition to screw up their finances just as bad, then release your pre-research plans without mentioning you've already blew the cash on the research and ask the competition to cooperatively research it for you. After they blow billions down a dead end rathole, then all you guys are "even". Everyone's poorer but at least you didn't get fi

  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:44AM (#39043603)

    I used to work for GlaxoSmithKline.

    While Slashdot likes to rag on Big Pharma, GSK really doesn't get enough credit for it's charitable work, like their Lymphatic filariasis eradication campaign. They are the last of the major pharma companies that still has a tropical infectious disease division; it doesn't make any money, yet they've continued to operate it all these years, since the days of the British colonial period.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.