The South and Central Asia region has experienced extensive social, economic, and technological transformations, and it faces sometimes unpredictable problems in the areas of health and natural disasters: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria present health challenges; natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes strain the region’s limited resources and lead to increased health and survival risks; isolated but ongoing conflicts jeopardize peace, stability, and development in the region.
In India, NIAID priorities for research include HIV/AIDS, with additional funding for research on HIV co-infections, filariasis, leishmania, and other diseases. Another important NIAID research focus is drug-resistant TB. NIAID funds major research projects in Bangladesh that are focused on endemic diseases, such as cholera, amebiasis, and cryptosporidiosis, and on enteric pathogens, such as Vibrio cholerae and Entamoeba histolytica. NIAID also funds leprosy research in Nepal.
The U.S. government has science and technology agreements with both India and Bangladesh that facilitate research and collaboration. One of the most important and successful collaborations has been the Indo-U.S. Vaccine Action Program.
Biodiversity and Climate Change Workshop, April 15-17, 2015, Astana, Kazakhstan
This workshop brought together scientists and policy makers from Central Asia with U.S. experts in botany, microbiology, ecology, food security, zoonotics, and biomedical fields to discuss the needs of diverse stakeholders in using natural resources in a sustainable manner. This workshop, planned with local and regional governments and non-governmental organizations, was a first step toward developing botanical and microbial diversity repositories, with possible expansion to animal and zoonotic diseases.
Workshop on HIV, TB, and Hepatitis, June 16-18, 2014, Tblisi, Georgia
This workshop focused on HIV/AIDS, TB, and hepatitis (including HIV-TB and HIV-hepatitis co-infections), in the context of Georgia and the region. The workshop addressed a variety of topics including epidemiology, prevention and control, treatment and cure; research tools such as genomics and bioinformatics. The goals for this workshop included sharing research findings and fostering existing and future research collaborations that engage investigators and institutions in Georgia and the United States. Following this workshop, ISTC launched a collaborative small-grants program to implement future research collaborations. Participants included researchers, government and public health officials, and representatives from academic and other public and private institutions.