Wellcome to this new blog all about tropical diseases and health. I have deliberately misspelt “welcome” to highlight the exciting news that the Wellcome Trust has appointed a Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health as their new director; Jeremy Farrar.
The Wellcome trust is a charitable powerhouse when it comes to funding medical research with an annual spend of around £650m devoted to seeking advancements in medicine. Medicine is an extremely multi-disciplinary profession and we only need to read the daily headlines to be reminded of the challenges doctors and medical scientists face – Alzheimer’s, Lung Cancer, Addiction, Cystic Fibrosis, Trauma etc. etc. – you name it! However, as a Masters student in Medical Microbiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a big interest in tropical viruses such as Dengue, HIV and emerging bat viruses, in addition to other kinds of infection such as Tuberculosis (bacterial) and Chagas disease (parasitic), I feel very excited that a new era for the Wellcome Trust will be under the leadership of a much-respected Tropical Disease expert.
It is perhaps a reflection of the growing problems facing tropical medicine today; there is much still to be done! How do we tackle total-drug-resistant TB? Can we stop the next big epidemic like SARS or HIV before it happens? Are we anywhere near close to a successful vaccine for Malaria, a disease which kills hundreds of thousands of people per year?
Amazingly, Professor Farrar was director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, where I will be going this summer to conduct my summer research project on a specific type of bat virus (more on that later).
My self-imposed job is to write about what I find in my investigations and experiences on tropical disease and inform you all about it. I’m a rookie for sure, but learning my trade step-by-step…so bare with me…but DO comment and ask questions either on here or through my twitter account (@philandtropical).