Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers have found that despite an ongoing trend for a decreasing proportion of males being enrolled in antileishmanial therapeutic efficacy trials over time, there are still 1.8 times as many males as females involved in clinical trials. A new systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that existing knowledge on drug efficacy is derived from a study population that is heavily skewed towards adult males. At the same time, substantially less is known about the optimal treatment response in female patients.

Three young girls at a clinic in Asia © Credit: Rama George-Alleyne, World Bank

The study identified 135 clinical treatment trials of visceral leishmaniasis published in the past 40 years enrolling 32,177 patients of whom 21,193 (65.9%) were male and 10,984 (34.1%) female, overwhelmingly from high-burden countries of the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Africa.

Visceral leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease that currently has an annual estimated incidence of 50,000 to 90,000 cases in 2019 but the case burden used to be much higher. This drop is mostly the result of the ongoing elimination campaign that begun in the Indian subcontinent in 2005.

The Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) is currently working towards collating and standardising datasets from several clinical studies included in this systematic review which could provide a valuable resource to understand if differences in treatment outcomes can be expected and what the underlying factors might be.

The full story is available on the IDDO website

Read the publications: Gender disparity in cases enrolled in clinical trials of visceral leishmaniasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Similar stories

Peter Horby receives prestigious award for outstanding service to public health

The Faculty of Public Health has awarded its prestigious Alwyn Smith Prize to Professor Sir Peter Horby for 2020/2021 in recognition of his outstanding service to public health as a global leader in epidemic science.

Lack of evidence is key barrier to using portable devices to detect poor quality medicines

A series of papers which reviewed portable devices to detect poor quality medicines has concluded major gaps in scientific evidence remain a key barrier for regulators to implement surveillance systems using such devices.

RECOVERY Trial paper on dexamethasone wins BMJ’s 2021 UK Research Paper of the Year Award

A RECOVERY Collaborative Group paper has been announced as the 2021 winner of The British Medical Journal’s prestigious UK Research Paper of the Year Award. This award recognises original UK research that has the potential to contribute significantly to improving health and healthcare. The paper, “Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19”, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the discovery in June 2020 of the world’s first effective, readily available treatment for COVID-19 – the inexpensive steroid, dexamethasone.

Tropical Medicine DPhil Students awarded NDM Prize

Every year, the Nuffield Department of Medicine awards NDM Prizes to our most outstanding students. This year, Mo yin and Rebecca Inglis (both at MORU) were highly commended in the category NDM Overall Prize, for conducting research with an outstanding impact. Will Schilling (MORU) received a prize as first year DPhil student, and Mohammad Ali (OCGHR) as second year DPhil student. Our warmest congratulations to you all!

New study alerts to the risk of poor quality medicines used to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease

There are important but neglected issues with substandard and falsified medicines and medical products used to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. From limited available data, MORU and IDDO scientists found about one fifth of medicines reported as sampled in the literature were substandard or falsified. This systematic review suggests that more and better quality data and data sharing are needed to better understand the global burden of this problem and inform interventions.

Systematic review identifies research gaps for Chagas disease

A new, large-scale systematic review published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases has identified clear, significant research gaps in the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. The paper also highlights significant differences in study design, diagnostic methods, duration of follow-up, and the timing of outcome assessment used by investigators even in the last decade.