In a PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases editorial, Dr. Peter Hotez says there is an exciting opportunity for India and China to engage in international science diplomacy for controlling or eliminating the major neglected tropical diseases in their two countries, and thereby reducing the global NTD burden by up to 40% or more.
"Ultimately, the huge disease burden from NTDs now shared between China and India creates an interesting opportunity to enhance scientific cooperation between these nations. For example, India might learn from China's historical successes at eliminating lymphatic filariasis, while China might benefit from India's recent experience in combating dengue and other arboviruses. Both nations could expand mass drug administration in order to reduce the number of cases of soil-transmitted helminth infections and trachoma, as well as to reduce a staggering burden of disease from tuberculosis. There also remains a high burden from malaria in India and in China's southwestern region. The fact that such a heavy burden of tropical diseases now occurs in two of the world's largest economies, each with top-ranked universities—Beijing, Tsinghua, and Fudan Universities in China and the Indian Institute of Technology, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and All India Institute of Medical Sciences—and the recognized ability to produce nuclear technologies, indicates that the talent to achieve science diplomacy goals is already present. On the medical research front there are almost limitless opportunities to collaborate on new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines for NTDs common to both nations."