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A New Era of Hope for the World's Most Neglected Diseases

ortantly, the neglected diseases have at long last caught the attention of the international development community. The penny has finally dropped: neglected-disease control will be crucially important to achieving many of the Millenium Development Goals, and investment into neglected diseases must become a priority for donors. On June 8, 2005, DNDi launched an appeal, signed by 17 Nobel laureates among others, calling on donors to create a new fund of $3 billion a year for neglected-disease R&D (http://www.researchappeal.org), while the Commission for Africa urged donors to “ensure that there is adequate funding for the treatment and prevention of parasitic diseases.?/p>

It is therefore encouraging that the Gleneagles Communiqué, arising out of this year's G8 summit, specifically called for increased investment to encourage the development of tools for neglected-disease control. Another sign that donors are taking notice is that the US Senate recently passed a foreign operations appropriations bill that included $30 million for neglected diseases. This successful appropriation was in large part due to the advocacy of the Global Health Council, Eric Otteson at Emory University, and Peter Hotez at George Washington University.

There is one element that will be crucial to the success of all of these new initiatives—the ability to share research results and policy discussions freely across the globe, without access barriers. PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine are committed to publishing the highest-quality basic and clinical research on neglected diseases, and PLoS is exploring the feasibility of launching a new journal devoted specifically to these diseases. The ?005 reality?is that there is an unprecedented window of opportunity for neglected-disease control, and PLoS will play its part.


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Source:PLoS Medecine


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