Expert opinion

Even before the war broke out in Ukraine, global food prices had reached a record high. Supply chains that had already been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic were almost pushed to breaking point by the climate-related extreme weather events of 2021. Then, when the conflict began, the price of key commodity crops, fuel, and fertiliser skyrocketed overnight.
Where did the idea of inoculation against disease come from? Before vaccination, there was the technique of inoculation by variolation, in which scabs and pus were taken from someone suffering from smallpox would be inserted into cuts in the skin of a healthy person. This could induce a mild infection that offered protection against the more virulent form of the disease.
Concerns about the prices of medicines have grown over recent years. British legislators will this year renegotiate the terms of the pricing and access scheme for branded medicines between the Government and the pharmaceutical industry, seeking to control growth in prices.
Now bird flu (H5N1) has been detected in mammals are we at greater risk of a human pandemic? No one can predict whether we’re at low risk or high risk of an H5N1 human pandemic at the moment. While H5N1 can infect humans who come into close contact with birds with the disease – for example poultry workers – so far no strain has emerged that sustains transmission between humans in the way that would be needed to create a pandemic.
Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema) is a big problem globally, which affects about one in five children and one in ten adults. The major problems it causes relate to persisting severe itch, sleeping issues (which can last for years), and stigma around having visible rashes. These issues lead to major adverse effects on quality of life.
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) released their annual report chronicling the latest statistics in the global fight against malaria. Thanks to the incredible work of governments and implementing organisations, the estimated number of malaria deaths has fallen from 625,000 in 2020 to 619,000 in 2021.
Despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine and targeted global policy, measles has persisted for decades. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, with contributions from LSHTM, outlines the current global status of measles vaccination and burden.
How do antibiotics work? Antibiotics are made from naturally occurring chemicals that stop bacteria growing, either by slowing down their normal functions or by killing them directly. We use antibiotics when we need to treat serious bacterial infections, like urinary tract infections, skin infections or meningitis.
What are the issues around pneumonia, particular in displaced populations? Lower-respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are a leading cause of death in children under five worldwide, with increased rates in displaced populations. We believe that a substantial proportion of these infections are caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus); a common bacterium that can cause pneumonia and meningitis.
What are the symptoms of dengue and what health impacts does it have globally? While the majority of dengue infections cause mild flu-like symptoms or are even asymptomatic, some people experience headaches, severe joint pain and even internal bleeding that can lead to death. Globally dengue causes 50-100 million cases a year across over 120 countries. Many of these are concentrated in high profile outbreaks that are difficult to control.