Achieving success in the global fight against the "big three" diseases--HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, which together account for 5.6 million deaths a year--may well require a concurrent attack on the world's most neglected tropical diseases, says a team of researchers in the international open access journal PLoS Medicine.
The team will present its work at a meeting on malaria and the neglected tropical diseases at the Nobel Forum, Stockholm, on 30-31 January 2006, organized by the UN Millennium Project and hosted by Karolinska Institutet and the Nobel Forum.
The neglected tropical diseases, such as leprosy and sleeping sickness, are disabling infectious diseases (mostly due to parasites) affecting the world's poorest people. The research team--Peter Hotez (Principal Investigator, Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative), David Molyneux and Eric Ottesen (Global Alliance to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis), Alan Fenwick (Schistosomiasis Control Initiative), Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the UN Millennium Project and of the Earth Institute at Columbia University) and Sonia Sachs (Millennium Village Project)--argues that initiatives for tackling the big three would be far more effective if they also included control of the neglected tropical diseases.
"The evidence indicates that coinfection with one or more neglected tropical disease may profoundly affect the outcome of one or more of the big three," says the team. For example, people with HIV infection or TB who are also infected with helminth infections, such as hookworm and schistosomiasis, have a worse prognosis. There is also emerging evidence that people infected with the neglected tropical diseases are more
Contact: Paul Ocampo
Public Library of Science