On Monday 30 January 2012, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and the CEOs of several high profile pharmaceutical companies as well as the World Health Organisation gathered at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Together they formed the ‘London Declaration,’ a global initiative that aims to control or eradicate 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) within the decade.
The N8 Parasitology Group welcomes this declaration as a step forward in the research of life threatening parasites. Dr Mark Booth, Acting Deputy Director of the Wolfson Research Institute and Head of the N8 Parasitology Group explains the aims of the Group and his thoughts on the London Declaration:
“The N8 Parasitology Group comprises of over 40 academic parasitologists in Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York Universities. Members of the Group conduct internationally excellent research on parasites of humans and animals, including NTDs. The recent news of the London Declaration on NTDs is very much welcomed by the Group, which anticipates positive progress being made towards control and elimination of many parasite species in the future.
We note that the emphasis of the London Declaration is on the development and delivery of medicines to alleviate disease burden. This is understandable in the sense that the declaration is the result of a landmark effort to co-ordinate a specific combination of medicine providers who would normally never collaborate. The logic behind the declaration is clear. We wish the consortium every success in achieving its goals.
The members of the Parasitology N8 Group consider that it is very important to maintain a wide-reaching research agenda for all parasite species. Key themes of research within the consortium include:
- Immunology and molecular biology of infection and disease
- The impact of climate change
- New diagnostic tools
- New drug targets
Collaborations between N8 members and other internationally important research organisations highlight the importance of understanding the social context of NTDs as well as the need to conduct research on health-system strengthening. The Group therefore emphasises that this renewed emphasis on drug-oriented research, development and delivery needs to be accompanied by a parallel commitment to continuing research on all fronts. A multi-disciplinary, multi-agency and multi-country approach will lead to significant and sustainable health gains for populations currently exposed to parasitic infections.”
Click here to read more about the N8 Parasitology Group.