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Sabin Vaccine Institute Joins RTI International Team To Reduce Disabilities Caused By Neglected Tropical Diseases Around The Globe



9/25/2006 10:23:07 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Sabin Vaccine Institute today announced that it has been tapped as part of a $100-million collaborative effort aimed at helping to prevent the neglected tropical diseases in developing countries that are known as a contributing factor in widespread poverty, can cause disabilities, such as blindness, impaired childhood growth and intellectual development, and are responsible for approximately one death a minute.

Sabin will assist in the efforts to control and eliminate a group of neglected tropical diseases that are the most common afflictions of humankind. Sabin is part of a team lead by RTI International and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the collaborative program, which is designed to treat more than 40 million people annually for five years.

"We are honored to be a part of the RTI team and in this historical and unprecedented effort to combat these diseases through a large-scale integrated approach," said Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Director and Principal Scientist of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases Control (http://www.gnntdc.org) at the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine at the George Washington University. "This approach has the potential to make a rapid and sustainable impact on the health and economic well-being of the world's poorest people."

Other team members, including Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH), the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative at Imperial College London, and the International Trachoma Initiative, will focus on will focus on integrated control of seven of the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases -- trachoma (blinding eye infection), soil-transmitted helminths (hookworm, ascaris, trichuris), onchocerciasis (river blindness), schistosomiasis (snail fever) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) -- in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America that have a high prevalence of the targeted diseases and have recognized them as a national health priority.

These particular diseases were chosen because they can be treated through large-scale integrated programs using safe and effective drugs made available through public-private partnerships. Along with several others, they are responsible for about 415,000 deaths annually worldwide and are among the leading causes of poverty in developing countries.

Hookworms cause one of the world's most prevalent infections, afflicting an estimated 576 million people in the developing nations of the Tropics. Sabin Vaccine Institute's goal, with help from the USAID-funded initiative and other sources, is to take on and mitigate a global problem that would otherwise perhaps not garner the attention it deserves.

The Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute's mission is to prevent disease by advancing development of new vaccines and increasing immunization rates. Founded in 1993, the Institute pursues Albert Sabin's vision of a world protected from disease by vaccines.

Sabin Vaccine Institute

CONTACT: Margaret Brown of Brown & Associates, +1-703-898-9443,Margaret@mlbpr.com; or Kari Stoever of Sabin Institute, +1-202-842-8403,kari.stoever@sabin.org, both for Sabin Vaccine Institute


Read at BioSpace.com

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