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“We call them neglected tropical diseases…but the truth is, they’re really diseases of extreme poverty; you ordinarily do not get a neglected tropical disease unless you live in extremely impoverished conditions where there’s environmental degradation, poor-quality housing, inadequate sanitation,” says Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He continues by explaining that contrary to what many people may think, these diseases are not rare, and they’re not found only in developing countries: they are global health issues found right here in the United States, and affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Despite these numbers, the major pharmaceutical companies aren’t focused on developing drugs or vaccines to combat their spread. As a result, these responsibilities fall on the nonprofit sector. Dr. Hotez discusses the efforts within this sector and by the National School of Tropical Medicine toward implementing vaccination for some of the most common neglected tropical diseases, including hookworm infection, Chagas disease, and schistosomiasis. In today’s podcast, you will discover:

  • Where some of the most common neglected tropical diseases originate, how they are contracted, and what they do to the body
  • How the significant financial barriers to the development of vaccines in the nonprofit sector might be mitigated
  • Which neglected tropical disease is a major cofactor in Africa’s AIDS epidemic
  • How much progress has been made toward developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases

Press play to hear the full conversation, check out Dr. Hotez’s book, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development, and learn more by visiting https://www.bcm.edu/education/schools/national-school-of-tropical-medicine/.

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