The World Post

Dr. Peter Hotez says science can offer a lot to prevent neglected tropical diseases, including vaccines. 

"Remember, the NTDs are not rare conditions -- virtually every single person living in extreme poverty is infected with at least one of these conditions.

Science can offer a lot to prevent these infections, thereby making poor people well enough to go back to work, children healthy and intellectually vibrant, and improving pregnancy outcomes. One approach now underway is annual mass treatment with a package of essential medicines that targets several NTDs at once, and costs only 50 cents per person. Although not a true vaccine, the World Health Organization uses the term "preventive chemotherapy" to describe this approach because when used over a period of time, together with other supportive measures, it is actually leading to the elimination of lymphatic filariasis and trachoma, and in some cases even river blindness in dozens of impoverished countries. In collaboration with several international organizations we organized a Global Network for NTDs that is raising awareness about the opportunity for these low-cost preventive chemotherapy approaches."