SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

New framework for neglected tropical diseases could help people in poverty

The Sabin Vaccine Institute published on Friday in PLOS NTDs a new concept and framework called "blue marble health" that emphasized the role of Group of 20 nations in eradicating neglected tropical diseases.

"Blue marble health connects countries worldwide by recognizing that extreme poverty is a fundamental underlying factor for neglected tropical diseases regardless of where they occur," Peter Hotez, the president of Sabin Vaccine Institute, said. "G20 countries have an exceptional opportunity to embrace NTD control as a cross-cutting strategy and achieve long-lasting, inclusive prosperity within their societies and lower-income countries."

Hotez is also director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Sabin said the burden of tropical disease lies within the poorest G20 countries such as Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, although several of the diseases are present in Eastern and Southern Europe and the Southern United States.

Blue marble health advised Sabin Vaccine Institute to expand the portfolio of available vaccines to include eishmaniasis, dengue and food-borne trematode infections.

The organization advised further research and development to build up the capacity of vaccine manufacturers in disease-endemic countries. It also encouraged promotion of scientific collaboration, integration of NTD education, furthering health of women and children, awareness of non-communicable diseases and sustainable development goals.

"G20 countries are well-positioned to usher in a new era of enduring economic growth by making the cost-effective investment in people's health," Hotez said. "Now is the time to leverage their power and resources to bring about the next wave of successes in NTD control and elimination."