Reducing the burden of neglected tropical diseases requires investments in basic research
Neglected tropical diseases and malaria kill more than 800,000 people annually and create long-term disability in millions more. Developing support measures to tackle these deadly and disabling diseases will require significant investments in basic research.
According to a new PLOS Biology article, targeted investments in five areas of research are needed to create a pipeline for innovative disease-control tools. Strategic investments in these areas—which include systems biology, immunology, and gene editing—could accelerate new innovations.
Support in these areas could jumpstart a new generation of translational medicine and disease control tools, argues the author, Peter Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Children’s Hospital.
The article is part of the PLOS Biology “Research Matters” series.
New skeleton of an ancient dolphin found in South Carolina
A partial skeleton from an Oligocene dolphin species was found in South Carolina, according to a study published in PLOS ONE. The dolphin was one of five specimens collected from formations over 33 million years old. This finding extends the known evolutionary history of echolocating whales (some organisms commonly known as whales, including killer whales, are actually subtypes of dolphins).
Lead study author Robert Boessenecker says, “Fossils like these new specimens of Albertocetus are critical windows into the earliest evolution of modern whales, and shed light on the split between baleen whales and echolocating whales about 30 to 35 million years ago.”
Boessenecker RW, Ahmed E, Geisler JH (2017) New records of the dolphin Albertocetus meffordorum (Odontoceti: Xenorophidae) from the lower Oligocene of South Carolina: Encephalization, sensory anatomy, postcranial morphology, and ontogeny of early odontocetes. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0186476.
Hotez PJ (2017) The poverty-related neglected diseases: Why basic research matters. PLoS Biol 15(11): e2004186.