Identifying gaps in research prioritization: The global burden of neglected tropical diseases as reflected in the Cochrane database of systematic reviews.
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BACKGROUND: Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) impact disadvantaged populations in resource-scarce settings. Availability of synthesized evidence is paramount to end this disparity. The aim of the study was to determine whether NTD systematic reviews or protocols in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) reflect disease burden. METHODS: Two authors independently searched the CDSR for reviews/protocols regarding the NTDs diseases. Each review or protocol was classified to a single NTD category. Any discrepancy was solved by consensus with third author. NTD systematic review or protocol from CDSR were matched with disability-adjusted life year (DALY) metrics from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and associated P values were used to assess for correlation between the number of systematic reviews and protocols and the %2010 DALY associated with each NTD. RESULTS: Overall, there was poor correlation between CDSR representation and DALYs. Yellow fever, echinococcus, onchocerciasis, and schistosomiasis representation was well-aligned with DALY. Leprosy, trachoma, dengue, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease representation was greater, while cysticercosis, human African trypanosomiasis, ascariasis, lymphatic filariasis, and hookworm representation was lower than DALY. Three of the 18 NTDs had reviews/protocols of diagnostic test accuracy. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate the need for increased prioritization of systematic reviews on NTDs, particularly diagnostic test accuracy reviews.
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