Author Interviews, Dermatology, Global Health, Infections, PLoS / 28.12.2018 Interview with: Michael Marks MRCP DTM&H PhD Clinical Research Department, Faculty of Infectious & Tropical Diseases London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Hospital for Tropical Diseases London, United Kingdom Twitter @dr_michaelmarks Daniel Engelman MBBS; BMedSci; MPHTM; FRACP; PhD Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne, Tropical Diseases Research Group Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Melbourne, Australia Twitter @Dan_Engelman          What is the background for this study? MM: Scabies is extremely common. Globally in the region of 100-200 million people are believed to be affected by scabies annually. Recently the WHO has recognised Scabies as a ‘Neglected Tropical Disease’ in response to this burden of disease. There has been increasing interest in using Mass Drug Administration (treating whole communities) as a strategy to control scabies in communities. In order to make this practical countries need an easy mechanism for establishing if scabies is a significant problem in their communities. In general when treating an individual, clinicians would conduct a full body examination to diagnose scabies – however this may not be practical or necessary when making decisions about whether to treat whole communities. DE: Despite the fact that Scabies is a very common condition that causes a great deal of health problems, it has been largely neglected by health, research and funding agencies – but pleasingly, the WHO has now started to take action on scabies control, starting with the recognition of scabies as a "Neglected Tropical Disease" (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, NIH / 26.10.2016 Interview with: Geoffrey Mueller, Ph.D. Staff Scientist Genome Integrity and Structural Biology Laboratory National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Institutes of Health Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While allergic disease is a wide spread problem, it is actually a select few proteins, called allergens, that initiate allergy symptoms. This study was focused on looking for fundamental biochemical differences between allergens and non-allergens derived from the house dust mite. We found that the mite allergens, as a group, are distinctly different from the non-allergens in that they are more highly produced, and more stable. Previous anecdotal evidence suggested that these properties would lead to more allergens surviving the journey from the source (either mites or pollens) to a person. In addition, the greater stability of allergens may influence the decision making of the immune system to target these proteins as dangerous instead of harmless. (more…)