Battling Neglected Tropical Diseases

Leprosy, Chagas Disease, Leishmaniasis, Schistosomiasis, and Dengue Fever, plus a host of emerging tropical viruses and intestinal infections may occupy both epidemiologists and public attention less than classical infections affecting the northern hemisphere.

But this group of diseases imposes a significant burden on developing countries like Brazil, which is mentioned by the WHO as home territory for a significant number of so-called Neglected Infectious Diseases.

So research calls have gone out for a £4.4 million programme of study over the next two years, sponsored by the UK government’s Newton Fund, and by both federal and regional funding bodies in Brazil.

Closing date for proposal is 1st July.

Proposals should target biomedical, social and/or economic research studies in neglected infectious diseases that place a significant burden upon the poorest and most vulnerable in Brazilian society. Large scale efficacy trials are expected to be carried out.

According to the funding call published by the UK’s Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), research to understand and influence the relevant social and economic factors and implications surrounding these diseases is encouraged. For example, research questions looking into inequalities and access to healthcare, which plays in a crucial role in ensuring that these diseases are diagnosed and managed in the most effective manner.

Leishmaniasis: Foto Wikimedia. Department of Pathology, Calicut Medical College

Leishmaniasis: Foto Wikimedia. Department of Pathology, Calicut Medical College

Neglected Infectious Diseases are a group of diseases, caused by parasitic, bacterial, fungal, ectoparasitic or viral agents that cause substantial illness for more than one billion people globally. They are so named due to the lack of large investment into the development of new drugs and vaccines to prevent their transmission and minimise their effects, and because existing programmes to control these diseases are not sufficient.

A wide range of social and economic factors contribute to the persistence of Neglected Infectious Diseases.  The social and economic impacts of Neglected Infectious Diseases are also significant in terms of limiting ability to work and earn a living, produce food for the household and attend school.

The launch of this call follows the success of the UK-Brazil Infectious Disease Workshop which took place in October 2014. The workshop was convened by the funding agencies participating in this partnership and attended by eminent Brazilian and British researchers in the field of infectious diseases in order to scope the development of this call.

You can read about the programme established by one of the leading Brazilian agencies, on this link. Neglected Infectious Diseases Partnership



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