Impact stories

For more than 110 years, ITM has been building health in the South and at home, achieving many successes in research, education and medical care.

On this page you find a small selection of stories about our impact.

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The discovery of and research on the ebola virus

ITM researchers Guido van der Groen and Peter Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus, which was first studied in Zaire in 1976.

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ITM put aids on the map as an African heterosexual disease

The importance of the ITM in HIV and AIDS research cannot be overestimated. It is thanks to ITM that this disease was recognised as an African heterosexual disease that affects poor people.

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Development of a shorter tuberculosis treatment

In the past, patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis had virtually no hope for survival. Today they usually win their battle with the disease, thanks to a faster-acting combination of medications discovered by ITM.

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Administrator of the world’s largest collection of tbc strains

In 2013, the World Health Organization gave ITM in Antwerp the responsibility of watching over the largest collection of tuberculosis bacteria in the world.

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Test for sleeping sickness developed and manufactured by ITM

For decades, a sleeping sickness test has been used all over the world that was not only developed but is still being made today by ITM.

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Advocate for basic health care

Behind the scenes of the fight against high-profile diseases such as AIDS and malaria, ITM has put just as much effort in championing basic health care in recent decades.

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Teacher of health care workers from all over the world

Every year about 700 health care workers come study at ITM. The Institute prepares young Belgian doctors and nurses for their stay in the tropics. Vice versa, thousands of health care workers from the South have come to Antwerp to amass knowledge with which they can promote health care in their own countries.

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Neglected diseases in the spotlight thanks to ITM

Buruli ulcer, leishmaniosis, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis … Much of what we know about so-called ‘neglected tropical diseases’ is thanks to ITM scientists, who prefer not to ignore even one tropical disease.

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The travel clinic: point of reference for travellers

Never before have so many people travelled as extensively as today. This does pose health risks, of course, such as the Zika virus or malaria, to name but two examples. For many globetrotters, the ‘Tropical Institute’ is the obvious point of reference both before and after the trip.

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BIT-project researches antibiotic resistance in the tropics

A problem like antibiotic resistance cannot only be handled in the laboratory. It requires a multidisciplinary approach — which is exactly what ITM is doing with the BIT-project, at least until 2020.

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Switching the Poles — a disruptive look at development cooperation

Development cooperation is exhibiting a trend towards equal partnerships. ITM goes a fundamental step further with its ‘Switching the Poles’ philosophy: allow your Southern partners to take matters into their own hands. Dozens of organisations have already done so.

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Multidisciplinary contribution to the fight against malaria

Malaria is the most infamous tropical disease, which still claims more than a half a million victims every year. The mosquito that transmits the parasitic disease is therefore the deadliest animal on Earth. Over the course of the years, several generations of ITM researchers have helped stem the tide of malaria, which primarily affects young children in Africa.

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