Recently published prevalence estimates of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in five Latin American countries — Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela — could suggest a new direction for United States foreign policy in the region, according to a tropical-disease expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Dr. Peter Hotez, the fellow in disease and poverty at the Baker Institute, outlined his insights in a new editorial, “The NTDs and Vaccine Diplomacy in Latin America: Opportunities for United States Foreign Policy,” published in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
He is available for media interviews on the topic. “NTDs are commonly found wherever poverty is pervasive and the Latin American and Caribbean region’s major NTDs — Chagas disease, cutaneous leishmaniasis, dengue, intestinal helminth infections and malaria (mostly vivax malaria) — are highly endemic in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, while dengue is also an important NTD in Cuba,” Hotez said.
“Approximately 14-15 percent of the cases of these NTDs occur in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela, despite the fact that these countries only comprise about 10 percent of the region’s population.” Hotez said such high numbers of people affected by NTDs afford potential opportunities for the U.S. to work with these countries in programs of science and global health diplomacy.
“These programs might include bilateral cooperative efforts to implement disease control and elimination programs for the major NTDs, potentially relying on shared expertise between the U.S. and the disease-endemic countries,” he said. There may also be specific opportunities for “vaccine diplomacy,” a form of science diplomacy focused on “joint development of lifesaving vaccines and related technologies” conducted by scientists from “nations that often disagree ideologically” or even those “actively engaged in hostile actions,” Hotez said.
Both the U.S. and Cuba stand out for their programs of vaccine research and development, with Cuba’s Instituto Finlay, for example, belonging to the renowned Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network.
“Joint U.S.-Cuba programs in NTD vaccines, possibly including scientists from Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua or Venezuela, offer additional mechanisms on this front,” Hotez said. Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, head of the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics.
Hotez is also president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital’s Center for Vaccine Development. To interview Hotez, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-348-6775. -30-
Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute
Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews
Hotez biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/peter-j-hotez.
Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 15 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.
Jeff Falk | Eurek Alert!
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy