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“Globally, there are 750 million people who live below the World Bank poverty figure of $1.90 a day, and basically every one of them has at least one neglected tropical disease…now we know there are about 5.3 million Americans living in that same level of poverty, and they have neglected tropical diseases, so they’re not only the diseases of the poorest countries,” says Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. There seems to be a vaccine or drug for most diseases that affect this great a number of people, or at least a worthy effort being put forth in the search for one. So, why is that not the case for the global health issue of neglected tropical diseases? As a disease of the poorest of the poor, the pharmaceutical industry has little interest in spending the resources on research and development for a treatment or curative solution. Consequently, the burden has fallen largely on the nonprofit sector. Dr. Hotez explains the current state of progress toward implementing widespread vaccination for some of the most common neglected tropical diseases, including schistosomiasis, Chagas disease, and hookworm infection. On today’s episode, you will learn:

  • Where some of the most common neglected tropical diseases originate, how they are contracted, and what they do to the body
  • Why there are so many challenges to the development of vaccines in the nonprofit sector, and the importance of innovation in overcoming them
  • How much progress has been made toward developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases
  • How the immune-masking properties of parasites prevent people from building immunity against them

Tune in for all of the details, visit https://www.bcm.edu/education/schools/national-school-of-tropical-medicine/, and learn more by reading Dr. Hotez’s book, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development.

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