A debate published today in PLoS Medicine examines new approaches to tackling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with three viewpoints from experts in the field—including Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez—arguing which approach shows the most promise.
Dr. Hotez and colleagues say that the best return on investment will continue to be mass drug administration for NTDs
“In terms of both health impact and cost-effectiveness, few other interventions can rival mass drug administration for NTDs, and increasingly this approach is being recognized for its beneficial effects on strengthening health systems, improving economic development, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” says Dr. Hotez.
In contrast, Jerry Spiegel and colleagues from the University of British Columbia argue that there has been too much focus on biomedical mechanisms and drug development for NTDs, which has come at the expense of the social determinants of health such as clean water, sanitation, good housing, and community education.
Burton Singer of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida argues that the recent designation of a set of tropical diseases as “neglected” has led to strategies for control that are inappropriately “overmedicalized.” He cites the emphasis on drug administration alone to alleviate schistosomiasis as an example.
Read the full debate here.