The 2nd International Conference on Global Challenges in Neglected Tropical Diseases (http://www.cafec.org.pr/ntd2018/) took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico between June 25 and 27, 2018. The theme of the conference was: “United to Eradicate the Global Threat of Neglected Tropical Diseases”. This IUPAC sponsored conference was organized by Colegio de Químicos de Puerto Rico (CQPR) through the Commission for Scientific Events and Formatives Activities (CAFEC) and with the help of other entities and academic institutions as acknowledged in the meeting program. The CQPR is the Puerto Rico IUPAC National Adhering Organization (NAO).
A very exciting program was put together, which generated a lot of excitement and future research collaborations. The meeting was successful in bringing together scientists from North America, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe to discuss present challenges in the field. Representatives from the academia, industry, and private research laboratories were brought together assuring a complete perspective on the field. A total of 29 oral presentations as well as 23 poster presentations were delivered at the conference, together with a round-table discussion on the modern role of the pharma industry in drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases emphasizing Central and Latin America.
Important topics discussed at the meeting included recent advances to treat Leishmaniasis by targeting important aspects such as parasite virulence, new drug targets, successful intervention with key metabolic mechanisms, new phenotypic models, and better detection methods for drug discovery. Chagas disease was also heavily discussed in terms of new challenges for drug discovery and opportunities, new drug targets, and new possible solutions. Antimalarial drug discovery, although not anymore, a neglected disease, was also emphasized at the conference.
Since this meeting took place in a Caribbean island, where mosquitoes are omnipresent, a considerable number of presentations dealt with Dengue and Zika. Interesting topics discussed included the incessant threat of Aedes-transmitted arboviruses, the state-of the art in the Zika epidemic, new methods to differentiate between Dengue and Zika, Zika and pregnancy, as well as how hurricane Maria affected the mosquito density in the island.
We particularly acknowledge the support of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) that made possible the participation in this conference of three scientists from emerging countries, mainly from Honduras, Uruguay, and Jordan. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the local and international organizing committees for their hard work in putting together this conference at a difficult time for the island.
In this issue, we are presenting two peer-reviewed contributions on Leishmaniasis, which give a small flavor of the high quality of the science that was presented at the conference, mainly at the interface between parasitology and chemistry. Our special thanks go to Hugh Burrows for his help at the various stages of the organization and publication of these papers.
A collection of papers presented at the 2nd International Conference on Global Challenges in Neglected Tropical Diseases that took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico between June 25 and 27, 2018.
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