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!
Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University
Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Information Technology