MSF frequently publishes updates, press releases, and other forms of communication about its work in roughly 70 countries around the world. See the list below for the most recent updates or search by location, topic, or year.

Valganciclovir is primarily used as treatment and prevention of an infection caused by cytomegalovirus (CMV) in organ transplant patients, a highly lucrative market that Roche has sought to protect by patenting the medicine. But CMV also affects people living with HIV, and if left untreated, can cause blindness and death.

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It is not uncommon for people living with advanced HIV/AIDS in Southeast Asia to go completely blind, mysteriously, and in a very short period of time. In fact, these irreversible cases of blindness are caused by Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a member of the herpes virus family, which leads to blindness in those with compromised immune systems. Dr. David Wilson, former MSF medical coordinator in Thailand, explains why access to affordable valganciclovir is so critical in low and middle-income countries where CMV poses a major threat.

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Geneva/Bangkok, December 1, 2007 – Failure to diagnose and treat cytomegalovirus retinitis (CMV) in people with AIDS is leading to unnecessary blindness, according to a paper published today in the journal PLoS Medicine. The authors found in pilot studies that CMV retinitis, which has been dramatically reduced in wealthy countries since the advent of antiretroviral therapy, occurred in 23%, 27%, and 32% of patients with advanced AIDS in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand respectively. By training clinicians to screen and taking steps to make the best treatment affordable, the authors argue that CMV diagnosis and treatment can easily be integrated into existing AIDS treatment programs.

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