News

Millions given to end rheumatic heart disease


Matt Woodley


25/02/2019 2:48:14 PM

Around $35 million has been earmarked to combat the illness, which kills up to 150 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a year.

Rheumatic heart disease is most commonly seen in adolescent and young adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Rheumatic heart disease is most commonly seen in adolescent and young adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Much of the Federal Government funding, provided via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), will go towards the manufacture and testing of a number of vaccines, as well as accelerating clinical trials in Australia.
 
Australia has one of the highest incidences of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) – a complication of bacterial streptococcus A infections of the throat and skin – in the world. It is the leading cause of cardiovascular inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians, and is most commonly seen in adolescents and young adults.
 
‘Today is a game-changing step … ending RHD is a critical, tangible target to close the gap in Indigenous life expectancy,’ Federal Minister for Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt said.
 
‘The trials and development, led by Australia’s leading infectious disease experts and coordinated by the Telethon Kids Institute, will give hope to thousands of First Nations people whose lives and families have been catastrophically affected by this illness.’
 
The Government expects to build on the work of the Coalition to Advance New Vaccines Against Group A Streptococcus (CANVAS) initiative and will supply the funding over three years.
 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are 64 times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to develop RHD, and nearly 20 times as likely to die from it. Nearly 250 children are diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever in Australia each year, leading to between 50 and 150 deaths.
 
The End RHD vaccine initiative will be led by the Director of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Professor Jonathan Carapetis, and overseen by a scientific advisory board including leading Australian and International experts.
 
According to the Government, it will also be informed by an Indigenous advisory committee that will ensure the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard and acknowledged, and that all components of the work are culturally safe and appropriate.



closing the gap funding” rheumatic heart disease vaccine



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