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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The Mectizan® Donation Program – highlights from 2005

Mary M Alleman, Nana AY Twum-Danso and Björn I Thylefors

Author Affiliations

The Mectizan® Donation Program, 750 Commerce Drive, Suite 400, Decatur, GA 30030, USA

Filaria Journal 2006, 5:11  doi:10.1186/1475-2883-5-11

Published: 27 September 2006

Abstract

Through the Mectizan® Donation Program, Merck & Co., Inc. has donated Mectizan (ivermectin, MSD) for the treatment of onchocerciasis worldwide since 1987. Mectizan has also been donated for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) since 1998 in African countries and in Yemen where onchocerciasis and LF are co-endemic; for LF elimination programs, Mectizan is co-administered with albendazole, which is donated by GlaxoSmithKline. The Mectizan Donation Program works in collaboration with the Mectizan Expert Committee/Albendazole Coordination, its scientific advisory committee. In 2005, a total of 62,201,310 treatments of Mectizan for onchocerciasis were approved for delivery via mass treatment programs in Africa, Latin America, and Yemen. Seventy-seven percent and 20% of these treatments for onchocerciasis were for countries included in the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) and the former-Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa (OCP), respectively. The remaining 3% of treatments approved were for the six onchocerciasis endemic countries in Latin America, where mass treatment is carried out twice-yearly with the goal of completely eliminating morbidity and eventually transmission of infection, and for Yemen. All 33 onchocerciasis endemic countries where mass treatment with Mectizan is indicated have ongoing mass treatment programs. In 2005, 42,052,583 treatments of co-administered albendazole and Mectizan were approved for national Programs to Eliminate LF (PELFs) in Africa and Yemen. There are ongoing PELFs using albendazole and Mectizan in nine African countries and Yemen; these represent 35% of the total number of countries expected to require the co-administration of these two chemotherapeutic agents for LF elimination. In Africa, the expansion of existing PELFs and the initiation of new ones have been hampered by lack of resources, technical difficulties with the mapping of LF endemicity, and the co-endemicity of LF and loiasis. Included in this review are recommendations recently put forward for the co-administration of albendazole and Mectizan in areas endemic for LF, loiasis, and onchocerciasis.