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Parasitic and Neglected Infectious Tropical Diseases

Parasitic and Neglected Infectious Tropical Diseases are a WHO defined set  of diseases that include protozoa, helminths, bacteria and virus infections which continue to be a significant health burden in Low and Middle Income Countries.  WHO list 17 diseases (http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/ ). The G-Finder report 2014  (http://policycures.org/gfinder.html) classify 34 diseases as neglected and, unlike WHO, include diarrhoeal disease.

WHO estimates 1.4 billion people are affected by these diseases. The options for treating many of these diseases are limited because they usually receive limited attention from for-profit companies. In cases where the cost of treatment is relatively low the number and frequency  of infection can make sustained public health interventions accumulatively expensive in the countries that are least able to burden the cost. Further, many of these infections contribute to chronic ill health and the weakened host is more susceptible to other disease.

The traditional interventions of these diseases has been through a  combination of good public health preventative measure such as improved water and sanitation as well as targeted drug therapies/programmes, some of which have to be applied to the susceptible population.

Several groups within the Centre have an interest in neglected disease pathogenesis and epidemiology. For example, the Sanger Institute is sequenced the genomes of many of these pathogens and preparing reference genomes that support functional genomic research approaches. A better understanding of the genome of some of these diseases and their microbiological pathways  to infections will offer new opportunities for treatment and prevention such as the development of new vaccines. Some of these pathogens also have complex lifestyles involving several hosts and maintaining these in the laboratory requires dedication, expertise and longer term support.

Helminth NTD Schistosomiasis

Malaria

Rotavirus

 

 

Our Centre

The Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research is funded by the Wellcome Trust. In close collaboration with The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, it supports researchers working in public health and tropical medicine to develop their careers, and foster interchange between institutions in the UK and those based in low- and middle-income countries.

Image: Field diagnosis of Schistosomiasis at Bwondha on the shores of Lake Victoria.

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