President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute Dr. Peter Hotez writes an opinion editorial for The Hindu, an English newspaper circulated in India. The op-ed dated for March 8, 2011 is now available on the publications website. Below is an excerpt, along with a link to the full article:
India has the extraordinary opportunity to link its leading government research institutes and pharmaceutical companies in a unique public private partnership to address the diseases of the poor throughout South Asia.
Despite Indias dramatic modernisation over the last decade, it remains “ground zero” for some of the worlds most dreaded tropical diseases. A recent report in The Lancet reveals that 205,000 people in India die annually from malaria, mainly in Orissa and the surrounding states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, with almost one-half of those deaths in children. Similarly, India and its South Asian neighbours account for one-quarter of the worlds intestinal worm infections such as hookworm and roundworm, and more than one-half of the worlds cases of elephantiasis, leprosy, and visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The State of Bihar alone accounts for a large percentage of the worlds cases of VL, a serious parasitic infection also known as kala-azar that affects the bone marrow, liver, and spleen, and is associated with high mortality. Thus, while much of the global health attention is largely focused on sub-Saharan Africa, the truth is that India and adjoining Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are just as devastated by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Click here to read the full article.