Molecular Medicine

, Volume 20, Supplement 1, pp S31–S36 | Cite as

The Medical Biochemistry of Poverty and Neglect

  • Peter J. Hotez


One of the happiest memories from my early 20s was returning on the train from New York on a winter evening in 1980. Earlier that day, I had just met Professor Anthony Cerami, one of the youngest full professors at Rockefeller University and head of the Laboratory of Medical Biochemistry. I had just interviewed for the MD/PhD biomedical scientist training program at Rockefeller and Cornell Universities and was headed back to New Haven, Connecticut, where I was a Yale undergraduate senior major in molecular biophysics and biochemistry.

My life’s ambition was to explore the then emerging field of molecular biology and apply it to the study of medically important parasites. Earlier, a Yale professor I had met at a seminar and reception, the eminent protozoologist, Luigi Provasoli (1908–1992), had informed me that Rockefeller University was expanding its commitment to tropical pathogens and had begun studying them at the cellular, immunological, and molecular level. At that...


  1. 1.
    [1978] The Rockefeller University Catalogue 1978–1979. [New York: Rockefeller University]. p. 42.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Esch GW. (2007) Parasites and Infectious Disease: Discovery by Serendipity and Otherwise. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press. Prologue, [portion of prologue on Peter Hotez]; pp. 42–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stoll NR. (1962) On endemic hookworm, where do we stand today? Exp. Parasitol. 12:241–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    National Research Council. (1987) The US Capacity to Address Tropical Infectious Disease Problems. Washington (DC): National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hotez PJ, Cerami A. (1983) Secretion of a proteolytic anticoagulant by Ancylostoma hookworms. J. Exp. Med. 157:1594–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hotez PJ, Le Trang N, Cerami A. (1987) Hookworm antigens: the potential for vaccination. Parasitol. Today. 3:247–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hotez PJ, et al. (2013) The Human Hookworm Vaccine. Vaccine. 31 Suppl 2:B227–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhan B, et al. (2014) Advancing a multivalent ‘Pananthelmintic’ vaccine against soil-transmitted nematode infections. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 13:321–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hotez PJ, Bethony JM, Diemert DJ, Pearson M, Loukas A. (2010) Developing vaccines to combat hookworm infection and intestinal schistosomiasis. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 8:814–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hess JA, et al. (2014) Vaccines to combat river blindness: expression, selection and formulation of vaccines against infection with Onchocerca volvulus in a mouse model. Int. J. Parasitol. 44:637–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dumonteil E, et al. (2012) Accelerating the development of a therapeutic vaccine for human Chagas disease: rationale and prospects. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 11:1043–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bacon KM, et al. (2013) The potential economic value of a cutaneous leishmaniasis vaccine in seven endemic countries in the Americas. Vaccine. 31:480–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jiang S, et al. (2012) Roadmap to developing a recombinant coronavirus S protein receptor-binding domain vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 11:1405–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hotez PJ, et al. (2014) Calling for rapid development of a safe and effective MERS vaccine. Microbes Infect. 16:529–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hotez P. (2011) A handful of ‘antipoverty’ vaccines exist for neglected diseases, but the world’s poorest billion people need more. Health Aff. (Millwood). 30:1080–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hotez P, Whitham M. (2014) Helminth infections: a new global women’s health agenda. Obstet. Gynecol. 123:155–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Molyneux DH, Hotez PJ, Fenwick A. (2005) “Rapid-impact interventions”: how a policy of integrated control for Africa’s neglected tropical diseases could benefit the poor. PLoS Med. 2: e336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hotez PJ, et al. (2006) Incorporating a rapid-impact package for neglected tropical diseases with programs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. PLoS Med. 3: e102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hotez PJ, et al. (2007) Control of neglected tropical diseases. N. Engl. J. Med. 357:1018–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    USAID’s Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) program [Internet]. c2014. [cited 2014 22 Oct]. Available from:
  21. 21.
    Hotez PJ. (2013) NTDs V.2.0: “blue marble health”: neglected tropical disease control and elimination in a shifting health policy landscape. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 7: e2570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hotez PJ. (2008) Neglected infections of poverty in the United States of America. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 2: e256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hotez PJ, Murray KO, Buekens P. (2014) The Gulf Coast: a new American underbelly of tropical diseases and poverty. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8:e2760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hotez PJ. (2014) Neglected infections of poverty in the United States and their effects on the brain. JAMA Psychiatry. 71:1099–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hotez PJ. (2011) Enlarging the “audacious goal”: elimination of the world’s high prevalence neglected tropical diseases. Vaccine. 29S: D104–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hotez PJ. (2014) “Vaccine diplomacy”: historical perspectives and future directions. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8:e2808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hotez PJ, et al. (2014) The global burden of disease study 2010: interpretation and implications for the neglected tropical diseases. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 8:e2865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Proportion of children (1–14 years of age) in the country requiring preventive chemotherapy (PC) for soil-transmitted helminthiases, worldwide, 2011 [Internet]. c2012. [Geneva]: World Health Organiztion; [cited 2014 Nov 25]. Available from:
  29. 29.
    Distribution of schistosomiasis, worldwide, 2012 [Internet]. c2013. [Geneva]: World Health Organiztion; [cited 2014 Nov 25]. Available from:

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, which permits any non-commercial use, sharing, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, and provide a link to the Creative Commons license. You do not have permission under this license to share adapted material derived from this article or parts of it.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this license, visit (

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National School of Tropical MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Virology and MicrobiologyBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine DevelopmentHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  6. 6.James A. Baker III Institute for Public PolicyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  7. 7.HoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations