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 email@example.com 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!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences
20.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences