Infectious diseases remain a major health and socioeconomic problem in many low-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. For many years, the three most of the world's attention. However, in rural and impoverished urban areas, a number of unfectious diseases remain neglected and cause massive suffering. It has been calculated that a group of 13 neglected infectious diseases affects over one billion people, corresponding to a sixth of the world's population. These diseases include infections with different types of worms and parasites, cholera, and sleeping sickness, and can cause significant mortality and severe disabilities in low-income countries. For most of these diseases, vaccines are either not available, poorly effective, or too expensive. Moreover, these neglected diseases often occur in individuals who are also affected by HIV/AIDS, malaria, or TB, making the problem even more serious and indicating that co-infections are the rule rather than the exception in many geographical areas. To address the importance of combating co-infections, scientists from 14 different countries in Africa and Europe met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on September 9-11, 2007. The message coming from these scientists is that the only possibility for winning the fight agaisnt infections in low-income countries is by studying, in the most global way possible, the complex interaction between different infections and conditions of malnourishment. The new scientific and technical tools of the post-genomic era can allow us to reach this goal. However, a concomitant effort in improving education and social conditions will be needed to make the scientific findings effective.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)