Research gaps for three main tropical diseases in the People's Republic of China.
Zheng Q., Vanderslott S., Jiang B., Xu L-L., Liu C-S., Huo L-L., Duan L-P., Wu N-B., Li S-Z., Xia Z-G., Wu W-P., Hu W., Zhang H-B.
This scoping review analyzes the research gaps of three diseases: schistosomiasis japonica, malaria and echinococcosis. Based on available data in the P.R. China, we highlight the gaps between control capacity and prevalence levels, and between diagnostic/drug development and population need for treatment at different stages of the national control programme. After reviewing the literature from 848 original studies and consultations with experts in the field, the gaps were identified as follows. Firstly, the malaria research gaps include (i) deficiency of active testing in the public community and no appropriate technique to evaluate elimination, (ii) lack of sensitive diagnostic tools for asymptomatic patients, (iii) lack of safe drugs for mass administration. Secondly, gaps in research of schistosomiasis include (i) incongruent policy in the implementation of integrated control strategy for schistosomiasis, (ii) lack of effective tools for Oncomelania sp. snail control, (iii) lack of a more sensitive and cheaper diagnostic test for large population samples, (iv) lack of new drugs in addition to praziquantel. Thirdly, gaps in research of echinococcosis include (i) low capacity in field epidemiology studies, (ii) lack of sanitation improvement studies in epidemic areas, (iii) lack of a sensitivity test for early diagnosis, (iv) lack of more effective drugs for short-term treatment. We believe these three diseases can eventually be eliminated in mainland China if all the research gaps are abridged in a short period of time.