Editorial : ethnopharmacological strategies for drug discovery against African neglected diseases

Igoli, John O. and Teles, Yanna C. F. and Atawodi, Sunday E. and Ferro, Valerie A. and Watson, David G. (2022) Editorial : ethnopharmacological strategies for drug discovery against African neglected diseases. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 13. 851064. ISSN 1663-9812 (https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.851064)

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The impact of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) on the health and economy of neglected communities in the developing World is increasing rapidly while gaining little international attention due to the present Covid-19 pandemic. Although there was international funding for global efforts to eliminate or eradicate ten NTDs by 2020, this remains far from being achieved. However, a strategy for combating NTDs has been recently outlined in a roadmap produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240010352) which may stimulate further research. NTDs are a group of infections that mainly affect people living in remote rural areas, urban slums or conflict zones. There is a need to build on this momentum, but a key issue, which has been highlighted is the need for increased research efforts and for strengthening capacity in endemic countries for both research and implementation. To date NTD programs have not fully benefitted from the synergy of research and funding despite many of the diseases being co-endemic. NTD programs can be integrated into primary health care services and existing vaccination or micronutrient campaigns, or the school based distribution of drugs to achieve greater coverage and reduce operational costs. Nigeria carries one of the highest burden and diversity of NTDs in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of the call for the Research topic: "Ethnopharmacological Strategies for Drug Discovery against African Neglected Diseases" was to provide information on the diseases in focus and type of studies carried out by scientists working on the control and elimination of these diseases. According to the WHO the common and predominant NTDs are lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthes Loa loa filariasis, and insect-transmitted diseases such as Dengue fever and leishmaniases. The responses show that many institutions are working on NTDs found in the African continent and their capacity could be readily enhanced with training and resources to boost their skills and to increase their range of technical activities and research visibility, which will also help to provide essential technical and laboratory support to the national NTD programs.