Infectious diseases are on the rise. The World Health Organization reports infectious diseases kill more than 17 million people a year. 30 new diseases have emerged in the last 20 years.
Headline making outbreaks of viruses like Ebola as well as common hospital-acquired infections like sepsis are killing people before their time.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows a three-fold increase in the number of diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas like West Nile, Zika, Malaria and Lyme disease from 2004 to 2016.
The ease of world travel adds another layer of complexity when it comes to tackling infectious diseases. A health crisis on the other side of the globe is just a plane ride away. For many of these diseases, there is no treatment, cure, or vaccine.
As our population ages and other chronic conditions like diabetes complicate health issues, more people will have weaker immune responses to fight off these burgeoning health threats.
The impact is global and it’s personal.
“I contracted HIV through sexual intercourse when I was 21 years old,” said Janeli Saucedo-Castrejano of San Antonio. “I was utterly devastated and confused. But through the right treatment options and a great physician and great researchers, I was able to find the right treatment plan for myself. I’m now 29 years old. I’m undetectable. And I’m now working at an AIDS services organization, at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, as the Director of Development.”
“Nearly nine years ago, with a community-acquired MRSA infection that presented as an epidural absess,” explained Jay Propes of Austin. “With a history of lower back pain, I really thought nothing of it until I could no longer walk and even breathing brought excruciating pain. I was in a local hospital for 18 days. I had three surgeries in an attempt to excise the infection, but it just kept raging back. Fortunately, we had a friend who was able to get me to an academic center of excellence for treatment. And today I’m pretty much back to my old self.”
“I am eternally grateful to the researchers who work tirelessly on new therapeutics for HIV-positive patients,” commented Saucedo-Castrejano. “Because of them, I am the mother of three HIV-negative children.”
“I am glad to help Texas Biomedical Research Institute in any way I can to help them get these needed cures to the people who need them and where they live,” Propes said. “I’m personally grateful that the researchers at Texas Biomed are working to eradicate infectious disease.”
Economists and futurists predict by the year 2050, infectious diseases will be the number one killer in the world, surpassing heart disease. The enemies are stealthy – viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites. They’re caught. They spread. They evolve. Science must keep up.
The crisis is real. The need for significant scientific discovery is urgent. The time to invest is now. Texas Biomedical Research Institute is uniquely positioned to become a world leader in infectious disease research.
And our scientists have the track record to prove it having helped develop a cure for hepatitis C. Our research has also been crucial to advancement of therapeutics in the fight against AIDS and we are tackling drug resistant microbes – among the many research projects on our campus.
Texas Biomed is discovering and sharing critical breakthroughs needed by scientists to help protect everyone from the growing threat of infection diseases.
With our scientists, our animals, our facilities and our passion, we can truly change the world.