Stuttgart/Berlin, 07 February 2019 – Baden-Württemberg has the highest number of academic institutions operating in the field of neglected tropical diseases across Germany and they boast a very high level of expertise. The federal state is also Germany's number one location in terms of the pharmaceutical industry.
Experts presented their activities in the fight against neglected tropical diseases at the joint meeting of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg, the Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), the German network against neglected tropical diseases (DNTDs) and the BPI [German Pharmaceutical Industry Association] Baden-Württemberg.
Till Bärnighausen, Head of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Heidelberg, underlined that a collaborative approach involving politics, science, the pharmaceutical industry and civil society is crucial to the success of an initiative. Carsten Köhler, Director of the Competence Center for Tropical Medicine Baden-Württemberg at the University and University Hospital Tübingen, indicated that, in addition to humanitarian aid, technological advances are also a key driver of activities. He stated that there is a large gap when it comes to researching simple diagnostics for many NTDs, as neglected tropical diseases as a whole vary greatly. Barbara Jonishkeit of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg believed that it is particularly useful in Baden-Württemberg to convince family companies of the expertise in this field in order to develop further markets. Franz Werner Haas of CureVac AG and Manfred Klevesath of Merck also took to the podium to represent the pharmaceutical industry. As a representative of an NGO, Gisela Schneider, Director of DIFÄM (German Institute for Medical Mission) highlighted collaboration with the existing networks on site, such as religious organizations, emphasizing that they are particularly important in terms of treatment success and, ultimately, eradication of the NTDs.