London Centre for NTD Research hosts 8th anniversary event

16 Jan 2021

On 29th January 2021, the London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research hosted its 8th-anniversary research symposium.

The event attracted 119 participants from around the world to discuss new NTD research and celebrate the launch of the new World Health Organization (WHO) road map for NTDs 2021-2030, the second annual World NTD Day on 30th January and the 9th anniversary of the London Declaration on NTDs.

The event included a keynote presentation from Dr Mwele Malecela, Director of WHO’s Department for the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, who spoke about the importance of research collaboration to achieve NTD road map targets. Watch Dr Malecela’s keynote presentation here.

During the first round of presentations, London Centre for NTD Research members presented new research on the cross-cutting themes that emphasised throughout the new road map, including presentations on disability and mental health by Professor Hannah Kuper, water, sanitation and hygiene by Fiona Fleming and One Health by Joanne Webster.

Following a panel discussion, LCNTDR Executive Board member and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) Scientific Committee member, Professor Simon Croft, introduced film a short film developed by DNDi, titled “A doctor’s dream: A pill for sleeping sickness”.

During the second round of presentations, Carolin Vegvari presented on behalf of the NTD Modelling Consortium, addressing whether deworming at pre-natal clinics prevent morbidity from infection with soil-transmitted helminths in women of reproductive age. Watch the presentation here.

This was followed by Bonnie Webster’s presentation on the importance of Snail xenomonitoring and eDNA methods to detect transmission, enable targeted interventions and help better understand the local transmission dynamics of different schistosome species. Watch the presentation here.

Lastly, Matt Berriman discussed why long-range sequencing and scaffolding approaches are proving transformative for Schistosoma mansoni and presented recent progress in extending long-range assembly approaches across the Schistosoma genus. Watch the presentation here.

The event featured closing remarks from Professor Gail Davey, President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, who spoke about the momentum for NTDs being driven by the new WHO NTD road map and the importance of research in cross-cutting approaches, one of the three foundational pillars adopted in new road map. Watch Professor Davey’s remarks here.

Lastly, Professor Sir Roy Anderson, Director of the London Centre for NTD Research, closed the meeting, noting the departure of Centre Manager, Justine Marshall, who has played a critical role in coordinating the Centre since joining in 2018.