15 December 2016 | 1:52 pm.

The alliance formed by Carlos Slim Foundation (CSF), Baylor College of Medicine, Sabin Vaccine Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital, the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Yucatan participated in the II International Congress of Vector and Trypanosoma cruzi, within the framework of the International Symposium on Chagas disease, which was held from 7 to 9 December 2016 in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos.

Chagas disease is a condition that has been neglected but which has great impact on the American continent. It is caused by the infection of a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi , which is transmitted to humans through the bite of triatomine bug vectors known as “kissing bug”. Although there is already a pharmacological treatment, it is only effective if administered soon after infection occurs. It is estimated that about 7 million people are infected, of whom 30% may present serious chronic complications that characterize the disease, which can even cause death.

The Initiative for the Development of Vaccines against Chagas disease, driven by the Carlos Slim Foundation, started more than 5 years ago. Its main goal is achieve a therapeutic vaccine against this disease, which could prevent or reduce its progression to its severe stages. The work developed by CSF and partner institutions is aimed for protecting and improving the quality of life of millions of people in Latin America who have been infected, by preventing the disease from progressing and reaching severe stages or even death.

The initiative is an unprecedented action that seeks to help eradicate different diseases, including the elimination of onchocerciasisor river blindness — of the American continent, in collaboration with the Carter Center.

With this type of outreach participation, Carlos Slim Foundation is positioned in the regional scientific community as an important player in the research of Chagas disease and other neglected diseases.

Dr. Jorge Falcon Lezama, CSF Project Coordinator, presented at the event the lines of work that have been developed as part of the Initiative, centered in the advancements and the development of vaccines against this disease. For their part, Drs. Eric Dumonteil and Jaime Ortega Lopez , collaborators on the project “Developing a vaccine for Chagas Disease“, presented the advances that have been in research related to it. In turn, Dr. Eric Dumonteil, Dr. Jaime Ortega Lopez and Dr. Melissa Nolan Garcia, collaborators in the ‘Development of a Vaccine against Chagas Disease’ project, presented progresses of the research on this subject.