Field Notes, Update

Global health dogs, virtual frogs, and pathogens in a haystack

The info hub for the hub of global health

Socks, shots, and nets

Lexi and Sally are smelling kids’ socks to detect malaria in West Africa. In the study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the dogs (Lexi and Sally) correctly identified 70 percent of the malaria cases in seemingly healthy kids.

In other malaria innovation, PATH and partners are testing a new vaccine to break the cycle of malaria infection passed when an uninfected mosquito bites an infected person.

Still, bed nets never go out of style. According to Malaria No More, the 253 million bed nets that were delivered in 2017 to fight malaria broke the record for a single year.

What if there’s no frog to kiss

“They’re survivors,” says Jennifer B. Pramuk, a herpetologist and animal curator at Woodland Park Zoo, talking about frogs. That’s because until recently, amphibians have outlasted most other life on Earth. But today, frogs are dying off in record numbers. Frogs fill our fairy tales, TV shows, and childhood memories. But soon, these virtual frogs may be all we have left.

Cryotubes traveling 8,800 miles

What if physicians in Uganda could take a living tumor specimen, freeze it in a small vial, package it in a cryotube, and ship it to Seattle in liquid nitrogen? Andrea Towlerton and her team at Fred Hutch thought why not? Their process worked, and now the Hutch can analyze cancers in Africa the same way they do in the United States.

A pathogen in a haystack (of metagenomic data)

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are teaming up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together, these forces are launching IDseq, an open-source, real-time tool, to help scientists find disease-causing pathogens in labs and clinics around the world. It’s already shed light on mystery cases in Bangladesh. Interested researchers can apply for IDseq training.

Growing the family

WGHA is excited to welcome its newest sister alliance, the Bay Area Global Health Alliance. The Alliance will increase collaboration and partnerships in the Bay Area to improve health throughout the world. BAGHA joins regional global health alliances in GeorgiaNorth Carolina, and Melbourne, Australia. Welcome to the family!

There’s no shortcut

We all love bright and shiny new things. But moving innovation from lab to patient is winding and l-o-n-g. Too many great innovations are left behind in the so-called valley of death as funders move on to the next new thing. PATH is working to give innovators a ticket out of the valley of death with help from its Seattle headquarters and innovation hubs in India and South Africa.

Around town

  • November 8: Join Paulo Ivo Garrido, former minister of health in Mozambique and president of the World Health Assembly, at this year’s Gloyd Endowed Lecture on health care in the developing world 40 years after the Alma-Ata Declaration.
  • November 13Learn about the surprising link between livestock health and girls’ education with Tom Marsh of Washington State University at the Pacific Science Center.
  • November 13: Join the Infectious Disease Research Institute to celebrate its 25th anniversary.


In case you missed it …we have one last Halloween treat for you. Test your knowledge about global health interventions with  Global Health Technologies Coalition’s TRICK or TREATment quiz.

Do you have a tip for Field Notes? Send it to Tiffany Cain, tcain@wghalliance.org

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