REU students return from Kenya trip

Author: Marya Lieberman

Muriel Mcclendon (Chicago State University), Sarah Bliese (Hamline College), and Albert Vargas (UND) spent two weeks in Eldoret and Nairobi as part of the Analytical Chemistry REU program.  Muriel worked on a quantitative paper test card for antibiotics and gave a presentation at Eldoret University, Sarah helped repair an HPLC and performed system suitability testing for amoxycillin analysis, and Albert worked on a test card for air pollutants and generally helped out.…

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PAD patent issued

Author: Marya Lieberman

US Patent 9,354,181, Analytical devices for detection of low-quality pharmaceuticals, was issued May 31, 2016, to Toni Barstis, Patrick Flynn, and Marya Lieberman.  

Toni, Pat, and Marya are grateful to Allan Fanucci at Winstrom & Strawn LLP, who acted for us and provided most valuable guidance through the patent maze, and to Karen Deak at Notre Dame who helped us understand the process.  …

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VWR supports PAD project

Author: Marya Lieberman

Prof. Lieberman is very pleased to report that she has received financial backing from VWR International, a global laboratory supplier and distributor of chemicals, consumables, equipment, and instruments. Through their relationship with Notre Dame, VWR is providing Prof. Lieberman with $10,000 per year of chemicals and consumables for the lab, which will support efforts to identify fake medications in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. A big thank you to VWR for their interest in and support of this important project.…

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Pathology of Negligence: Report on Batch J093

Author: Marya Lieberman

In the third week of September, 2011, a worker loaded white powders from drums and plastic bags into a mixing machine at Efonze Chemical Industries to produce Batch J093 of a drug called Isotab.  It had been ordered by a cardiac clinic in Pakistan.  One of the drums, labeled as pre-gelatinized starch, was probably filled with pyrimethamine.  A batch of this antimalarial medicine had arrived in a moldy container earlier in the month and been transferred to a blue drum, the same type of drum used to hold starch.  Perhaps no-one updated the label.  In any case, over 20 Kg of pyrimethamine was somehow added to the batch of isosorbide mononitrate.  Each heart pill that was pressed contained over 50 mg of this drug in addition to the intended active ingredient;  patients who took the heart medicine would receive doses of 100-150 mg pyrimethamine per day.    The recommended dose of pyrimethamine is just 25 mg per week.  The consequences to hundreds of Pakistanis would be devastating.  

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Lab is now well EQUIPped

Author: Marya Lieberman

In order to determine whether a population is receiving enough iodine in their food, it's necessary to measure this micronutrient in urine samples.  The analysis is very difficult because the concentrations are so low--between 10 and 500 parts per billion.  

The Centers for Disease Control has certified our lab for analysis of urinary iodide.  Certification by the EQUIP (Ensuring the Quality of Urinary Iodide Procedures) program requires three sucessive quarters of successful assays of unknown samples that are provided by CDC, including replicate measurements and interoperator precision.  Kudos to Nick Myers, who has been the lead analyst for this challenging task.  …

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Short course on medicine quality at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Author: Marya Lieberman

July 4-9, 2016.  London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The short course is aimed at personnel who are involved and/or interested in medical product quality (medicines, diagnostics, vaccines).  The course will be aimed at global public health issues, and those found in low-, middle- and high-income countries. The course is relevant to those working in regulatory bodies, health decision and funding agencies, international health organisations, academia and the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industries.  …

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ND undergraduates participate in PAD research in Eldoret

Author: Marya Lieberman

Notre Dame juniors Tabitha Healy and Paulina Eberts are assisting with the repair of four HPLC systems that will be donated to labs in Africa. They accompanied Prof. Lieberman to Eldoret over the winter break.

Tabitha and Paulina working with one of the Waters HPLC instruments in the drug analysis lab at AMPATH.…

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Nicholas Thurin wins poster award at PINDU

Author: Marya Lieberman

Nicholas Thurin, a senior at Penn High School, presented a poster on his air pollution test card at the Dec. 5, 2015 Purdue-Indiana-Notre Dame University inorganic chemistry conference.  Nick  generated the nitrogen oxides using Ira Remsen's method*, diluted the gases to part-per-million levels, then designed a wax-printed millifluidic test card to expose  dye molecules to nitrogen oxides and measured the resulting color changes.   His poster won the High School Student poster award.  Congratulations Nick!  …

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Emily Mediate named 2016 Rhodes Scholar

Author: Marya Lieberman

Emily Mediate worked on the PAD project in 2012, organizing and testing some of the Kenyan antibiotic samples and helping Nick get the saltPAD off the ground.  She later did research in Uganda focusing on the effectiveness of AIDs interventions.  

The Rhodes Scholarship supports students in a variety of fields to study at Oxford University;  it is quite competitive, and Emmie is Notre Dame's 17th scholar.  She intends to pursue a master’s in evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation (EBSIPE) at Oxford…

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PAD workshop at Future Trends in Latin American Healthcare conference

Author: Marya Lieberman

A hundred policy makers, regulatory officials, and health care providers from Central and South America experiment with a new technology for detecting falsified medications.  Paper analytical devices (PADs) are employed to determine which sample of a tuberculosis medication has been adulterated with maize meal, and which contains a substitute drug.  The 90 minute workshop was given during the 5th Future Trends in Latin American Healthcare meeting in Merida, Mexico, October 21-23, 2015.  …

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2015 US-AID (DIV) awards announced

Author: Marya Lieberman

AMPATH received support for a program to provide incentives for Kenyan patients to enroll for health insurance;  the PAD project will be supported to implement a field screening program working with the pharmacovigilence team at Moi Hospital.  Congratulations to all!  

The US Agency for international Development administers the US foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.  …

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Bad medicine in Bangaladesh

Author: Marya Lieberman

The Daily Star newspaper in Bangaladesh reports on a post-market analysis of over 4,800 samples of medicines by the National Drug Quality testing lab. 499 enforcement actions were opened and 20 people were sent to jail for offenses related to making or selling substandard or falsified drugs.  …

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CePAT provides facilities for pharmacopeia testing and training in Ghana

Author: Marya Lieberman

Last Thursday May 21, I had the opportunity to visit the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training in Accra, Ghana.  This lab facility was established by USP in May of 2013, so it's just two years old. The director is Dr. Eric Kwasi Boateng.   The lab carries out USP analysis of a wide range of pharmaceuticals;  they work with manufacturers who want to ensure high quality products, and also with organizations that buy lots of medical products, such as country MRAs and NGOs.  The lab also develops new tests  and offers training sessions and hands-on workshops to teach medical regulators and analytical chemists how to perform the assays.  There is even a course in HPLC troubleshooting and maintenance.  It's a really useful resource.  …

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BBC shows PADs in use at Moi Hospital

Author: Marya Lieberman

The short segment aired Saturday May 23 on BBC International's HealthCheck program as part of a larger theme of finding and fighting poor quality medications;  I'll post a link as soon as I get it from the producers.  

Here Zoe Flood is shooting video of some of the pharmacy students using PADs.  

zoe_videos_mtrh_students_with_pads

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Special issue of AJTMH focuses on low quality medicines in the developing world

Author: Marya Lieberman

Access to high-quality medicine is a basic human right, but more than four billion people live in countries where many medications are substandard or fake. Marya Lieberman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and Abigail Weaver, a postdoctoral associate in the University’s Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Earth Sciences, took up the challenge of how people in developing countries could detect low-quality antimalarial drugs without expensive equipment and without handling dangerous chemicals.

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Nick's paper now in press at Analytical Chemistry

Author: Marya Lieberman

Using surface-tension enabled mixing (STEM), Nicholas Meyers and Emalee Kernisan developed a titration on paper with part per million sensitivity for detection of iodate in iodized salt. The titration also can be used in a quantitative assay for amoxicillin, a common beta lactam antibiotic.  

saltpad

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