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Objectives

The objective of the European Commission in the area of NID is to support Research and Development to improve existing and develop new approaches for preventing, diagnosing, treating, and controlling neglected infectious diseases which are applicable, acceptable and affordable in disease endemic countries.

Priority disease and research areas

The main focus of research will be on neglected infections diseases with a major impact on human health, and with clearly defined unmet medical needs. These include diseases caused by protozoal, bacterial and helminth infections, whereas neglected viral diseases are covered by another part of the FP7 programme (Emerging Epidemics under Infectious Diseases). The focus will be on applied research, with the aim of translating basic research findings into clinical practice.


The following table provides an overview of priority diseases that have been identified, partly by the international high-level conference on NIDs (Brussels, 8-9 November 2006 ), partly through an EC workshop (July 2007) on genomic and post-genomic approaches to NID, and partly through a recent report from the joint parliamentary assembly between the EU and ACP (African, Caribbean, Pacific) countries (May 2007). For each of the priority diseases , a more detailed description can be found under the section “Diseases Addressed”, which also includes a summary of key research gaps that have been identified for each disease, partly through the fora listed above and partly through recent literature (e.g. TDR Webpage; BVGH Global Health Primer (October 2007); Hotez, PJ al (2007)). However, please note that the list of research gaps in no way should be considered comprehensive or prioritised with respect to future topics in the EC work programmes.


Disease group PRIORITY DISEASES DISEASE BURDEN (DALY/YEAR in 1000)* GLOBAL PREVALENCE (Millions) ANNUAL DEATHS (1000)
PROTOZOAL Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)

Leishmaniasis (Kala Azar)

Chagas
1598

2090

667
0.3

12

8
48

51

14
BACTERIAL Buruli ulcer + Leprosy

Trachoma

Infantile diarrhoea
>199**

2329

61966***
>0.4**

84

ND
>0.6**

0

1798***
HELMINTHS Lympathic filariasis (Elephantiasis)

Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia)

Soil-transmitted nematodes (Ascariasis, Trichuriasis, Hookworm)
5777

1702

2951
120

207

1987
0

15

9

Sources: WHO (World Health Report), 2004; Hotez, PJ et al. Conrol of neglected tropical diseases: NEJM 357:10 (2007)
* DALY: The number of healthy years of life lost due to premature death and disability
** Leprosy only
*** All diarrhoeal diseases