Tropical diseases encompass all diseases that occur solely or principally in the tropics. In practice the term is often taken to refer to infectious diseases that thrive in hot humid conditions. Tropical diseases affect large population, are potentially preventable, affect economically backward communities and are neglected.
In past two decades with funding from national and global agencies, new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics have been developed tested and some of diseases are identified for elimination.
This review focuses on diseases relevant to India viz malaria, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis and dengue and work done on epidemiology, policy, diagnostic tests, drug resistance, clinical trials, pharmacovigilance, new drugs and vaccines.
Significant contributions have been made by India by carrying out clinical trials on new drugs, developing treatment guidelines for control and elimination of malaria (resistant falciparum, P.vivax relapse) leishmaniasis (liposomal amphotericin, combination with miltefosine for VL and PKDL) and filariasis (mass drug administration of DEC and ABZ).
Liposomal amphotericin developed in India has been evaluated clinically and marketed for visceral leshmaniasis. A novel trioxane antimalarial developed by CDRI has undergone phase I study. Arterolane piperaquine developed in India is marketed for falciparum and vivax malaria. Another drug for dengue is undergoing clinical trials. Several in vitro and preclinical studies on medicinal plants, synthetic chemicals, nanoparticles have also been carried out and await further development.