Last week, researchers, academics, doctors and advocates from all over the world gathered in Mexico City, Mexico at the 13th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA). Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) President Dr. Peter Hotez and Sabin Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP) Deputy Director and Director of Product Development Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi participated in lively discussions on various parasites that trap people in poverty — and for which unfortunately lack adequate diagnostics, vaccines and public awareness.
With many of these neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) addressed by Sabin’s vaccine development program, Drs. Hotez and Bottazzi certainly had a lot to add.
In his plenary address, Dr. Hotez provided an overview of the global status of parasitic diseases, including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, helminth infections and leishmaniasis. He urged for increased advocacy and awareness on the role of NTD vaccines — which he calls anti-poverty vaccines — on the health of the most marginalized populations and girls and women in particular.
In a second address later that week, Dr. Hotez provided a broad overview of the impact of helminth infections and other NTDs on the health and economy of the Latin American and Caribbean region, as well as a hidden burden of disease in the United States. He also highlighted the burden of NTDs in G20 countries and the need for shaping an evidence-based policy agenda — a blue marble health framework — to combat these diseases.
Additionally, speaking as Co-Editor-in-Chief of PLOS NTDs, Dr. Hotez discussed the open-access journal and how its research, public policy and advocacy articles are influencing global health policymakers and increasing knowledge of neglected diseases.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bottazzi highlighted the latest advances in the Sabin PDP’s efforts to develop schistosomiasis, human hookworm and Chagas disease vaccines.
Sabin, represented by Drs. Hotez and Bottazzi, is also part of the Global Chagas Disease Coalition. The Coalition’s high-level ICOPA event, encouraging increased access to diagnostics and treatment, was both exciting and informative. Both Drs. Bottazzi and Hotez provided remarks at the Coalition’s evening event.
To see additional highlights, check out some of these tweets: