“Desertification brings dengue fever to Spain”

Luis Pizarro, executive director of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), said yesterday that the globalization of infectious diseases due to the climate crisis and migrant flows will make governments realize the need to invest more in investigations.

Pizarro will receive the 2023 Princess of Asturias International Cooperation Award at a press conference in Oviedo tomorrow, an organization honored for developing new treatments for patients in poor and disadvantaged communities, Pizarro knows By now, the arrival of emerging diseases and the spread of tropical diseases to Western countries due to climate change and migration flows are changing the global public health landscape.

As a result, he noted, desertification led to the introduction of dengue fever into Spain, which Chilean researchers warned could become “one of the main causes of heart transplants.”

The onset of these diseases will become a bigger problem “if we don’t work hard to find treatments,” Pizarro said. The climate crisis has also led to the arrival of tiger mosquitoes in the Mediterranean, he recalled. He believes that this situation “will raise awareness in the Western world about the need to treat such diseases” because people cannot expect to “live in a bubble when the world is interconnected”, as the coronavirus pandemic has proven.

He assured that “the infrastructure is ready to deal with the arrival of new epidemics”, but made clear that international cooperation must be intervened by all actors, whether scientists, authorities or citizens at the individual level, whether in the North or the South of the planet .

Pizarro acknowledges the difficulties of conducting clinical research in the most remote areas on earth, which must be reached by ships and transport refrigerators to preserve the properties of samples.

In this sense, Dr. Kavita Singh from India, who heads the initiative in South Asia, emphasizes the importance of volunteers who connect with rural populations to encourage them to communicate drug-induced symptoms.

Juliana Quintero, a Colombian researcher at the Program for Research and Control of Tropical Diseases, emphasized in her speech that people who volunteered to participate in trials of new treatments and persuaded acquaintances to accept these new drugs made a “huge contribution”, forgetting the old, in a certain In some cases, the patient may die.

The jury of the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation decided to award the award to the non-profit organization in recognition of its 20 years of development of a large number of “effective” and “accessible” products for diseases that cause “significant social stigma” and “affordable” medications. A year old, millions of people die every year.

Diseases he has focused on include river blindness or filariasis, sleeping sickness, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis, hepatitis C, malaria, cryptococcal meningitis, dengue fever, HIV, mycetoma, and, in recent years, mycetoma. Diseases that particularly affect tropical areas. , COVID-19.

The network was founded by Doctors Without Borders and has more than 200 partners in more than 40 countries.

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