UN-led initiative will advance research in neglected tropical diseases

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Mobile team of health care workers performing systematic screening of population for sleeping sickness in Chad.

Research into neglected tropical diseases such as tuberculosis and sleeping sickness will be boosted thanks to three agreements arranged through a consortium led by the UN's intellectual property agency.

AstraZeneca, the global pharmaceutical giant, has concluded agreements with two universities—one in the United States, the other in the United Kingdom—and a pharmaceutical company in South Africa.

The agreements are the first partnerships under WIPO Re:Search, which brings together the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), private sector companies, research institutions and other groups.

Tom Bombelles, a consultant at WIPO in Geneva, says neglected tropical diseases affect up to two billion people worldwide, mostly the poor.

"Many of the effects of these diseases are to stunt growth, to retard cognitive development in children, so they are particularly cruel in that respect in that they disproportionately affect people who already are disadvantaged, and they have the effect of keeping people disadvantaged."

WIPO Re:Search facilitates development of new products to prevent, diagnose and treat neglected tropical diseases by making information available to researchers on a royalty-free basis.

Duration: 23″

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