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Neglected Tropical Diseases Network


March 31 – April 2,  2019

Hotel Esplendor – Institut Pasteur de Montevideo

From March 31 to April 2, the Institut Pasteur in Montevideo hosts the annual meeting of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, a group that brings together scientists from research centers focused on neglected diseases funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The £1,5 Bn fund was announced by the UK Government in late 2015 and it has been designed to stimulate research on the challenges faced by developing countries. Currently, the GCRF brings together 69 countries on five continents and finances 37 projects. Since its creation, it has invested 225 million pounds in 11 priority areas.

Each project is a collaboration between institutions in developing countries and the United Kingdom. The purpose of these collaborations is to generate joint research, ideas and knowledge that can be translated into solutions to improve the quality of life of people.

One of the projects is the creation of the network for neglected diseases that brings together more than 50 academics and more than 500 researchers from 14 institutions around the world that work to combat Leishmaniasis and Chagas disease.

The network includes representatives from the universities of Durham and York (United Kingdom); from Brazil, the State Universities of Campinas (UNICAMP), of Rio de Janeiro and Federal of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil); from Argentina, the UBA and the National University of Rosario; and the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, among others.

In addition to the on-line collaborative work, the network meets annually to share and analyze the progress made by the ongoing projects and that generally include three institutions. The IP Montevideo, through Carlos Robello —principal investigator of the Laboratory of Interactions Host-Pathogen—, maintains a sub-partnership with the universities of York and Rio de Janeiro, and another with the University of Durham, and centers of India and Pakistan.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a spectrum of 20 infectious diseases of the developing world, together affecting over 1 billion of the world’s most deprived people in developing countries.

Some of them are malaria, leishmaniasis, Chagas, trypanosomiosis (sleeping sickness), schistosomiasis, helminthosis transmitted through the soil, tuberculosis, leprosy, and cholera, among others.

Treatments for these diseases are scarce, nonexistent or unsatisfactory due to their toxicity, administration problems or resistance. Likewise, many of those affected live in remote areas, posing a challenge when it comes to the administration of treatments, as well as prevention and control of the diseases.