Major pharmaceutical companies are working with the ll & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization to tackle tropical diseases. The companies include Pfizer, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.
The aim is to eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. The group will aim to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), guinea worm, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness and leprosy, and control a further five diseases—soil transmitted helminthes (intestinal worms), schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas, and visceral leishmaniasis. These NTDs are estimated to affect more than one billion people in developing countries.
In a press statement Dr. Margaret Chan, director–general of WHO stated:
“The efforts of WHO, researchers, partners, and the contributions of industry have changed the face of NTDs. These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed. With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident almost all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of this decade.”
According to the statement, companies will donate an average of 1.4 billion treatments each year, while new collaborative R&D and access agreements will provide access to compound libraries that is expected to lead to new treatment options.
For more details see the [url=http:// http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/pages/combating-10-neglected-tropical-diseases-120130.aspx t=_blank]Gates Foundation Press Release.