Co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital Dr. Peter Hotez warns against the dangers of vaccine disinformation and how it has cost many lives.
Peter Jay Hotez
May 5, 1958
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Alma mater||Yale University (BA)
Weill Cornell Medical College (MD)Rockefeller University (PhD)
|Fields||Vaccinology, neglected tropical disease control, public policy, global health|
|Institutions||George Washington University Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, James Baker Institute, Baylor University|
Peter Jay Hotez (born May 5, 1958) is an American scientist, pediatrician, and advocate in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He serves as founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also Director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics, and University Professor of Biology at Baylor University. Hotez served previously as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and is a founding Editor-in-Chief of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is also the co-director of Parasites Without Borders, a global nonprofit organization with a focus on those suffering from parasitic diseases in subtropical environments.
Early life and education
Hotez was born in Hartford, Connecticut, to a Jewish family. His father Edward J. Hotez was a World War II veteran in the United States Navy. Growing up in West Hartford, Hotez graduated from Hall High School in West Hartford. He received a BA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry magna cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa) from Yale University in 1980, a PhD from Rockefeller University in 1986, and a Doctorate in Medicine from Weill Cornell Medical College in 1987. His doctoral dissertation and postdoctoral training were in the areas of hookworm molecular pathogenesis and vaccine development.
Research and career
Hotez was awarded postdoctoral positions in molecular parasitology and pediatric infectious diseases at Yale University School of Medicine, where he subsequently became an assistant professor in 1992 and an associate professor in 1995. His early research focused on the pathogenesis and molecular mechanisms of human hookworm infection and would eventually lead to a vaccine now in clinical trials, as well as a vaccine against schistosomiasis, also in clinical trials, either of which would be the first successful vaccine for humans to protect against a multi-cellular parasite.
Neglected tropical diseases
From 2000 to 2011, Hotez served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine (renamed in 2005 as the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine) at the George Washington University.
Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Millennium Development Goals in 2000, Hotez, along with Drs. Alan Fenwick and David Molyneux, led a global effort to rename diseases then being termed simply “other diseases,” as “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs), and promoting the use of therapeutic/preventive chemotherapy through a combination of drugs called the “rapid-impact package.” Hotez has advocated for increased efforts to control NTDs since 2005 through publications and speaking engagements, helping to gain increased awareness resulting in a decrease of prevalence and disease burden in many areas.
During these years, Hotez also led the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington, DC, as well as efforts to establish PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first online open access medical journal focused exclusively on neglected tropical diseases.
In addition to continuing work on vaccines already in clinical trials for hookworm and schistosomiasis, Hotez currently leads a team of researchers developing vaccines against other diseases including leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, SARS, and MERS, and is also working in development of a Coronavirus vaccine.
Hotez has actively used his public profile on Twitter and other social media platforms to help combat misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also appeared as an invited expert in a number of cable news and radio shows. In an interview with the American Medical Association, Hotez noted that communicating clear messages about the ongoing pandemic is of vital importance in an environment that is rife with confusing and misleading messages. “We’ve been hearing either the sky was falling or there was no problem… the reality is more nuanced than that and that requires some explanation based on scientific principles.” Hotez has also warned that contrary to popular belief, more young adults than expected would be hospitalized due to the outbreak of COVID-19: “The message is that we’ve been trying to appeal to younger adults and have them shelter away and do the social distancing and explaining why they’re at risk for transmitting the virus to vulnerable populations.” Hotez has also warned against optimistic COVID-19 vaccine timelines, arguing that rushing through the conservative timeline could cause problems, “potentially mak[ing] individuals worse and threaten[ing] vaccine development in the U.S.” On August 7, 2020, he said in a television interview that the US can expect to be affected by COVID-19 for “years and years” even after Americans are vaccinated. In that interview, he also blamed the federal government for not taking action to contain the spread of the virus.
Awards and memberships
Selected awards and memberships include:
- 2018 – Elected member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- 2017 – Carlos Slim Foundation Health Award
- 2017 – The Distinguished Achievement Award from B’nai B’rith International for a lifetime of accomplishments in science and public health.
- 2003 – The Bailey K. Ashford Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene for distinguished work in tropical medicine.
- 1999 – Henry Baldwin Ward Medal from the American Society of Parasitologists for outstanding contributions to the field of parasitology.
In 2008, he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He is an ambassador of the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), a member of the World Health Organization Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for WHO TDR (Special Programme on Tropical Diseases Research), and in 2011, Hotez was appointed as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils. He is a member of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Publications and media
Hotez is the author of more than 500 scientific and technical papers on NTDs. In addition he is the author of Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor amid Wealth and Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development, co-author of Parasitic Diseases, 5th Edition, a co-editor of Krugman’s Infectious Diseases of Children, 11th Edition, and co-editor of Manson’s Tropical Diseases, 23rd Edition and Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 7th Edition. In addition, Hotez writes frequently for lay audiences, including papers in Scientific American and op-ed pieces for the New York Times.
- “Expert named to lead new tropical disease research center”. Houston Chronicle. 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- “34 Leaders Who Are Changing Health Care”. Fortune Magazine. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
- Hathaway, William (October 6, 1996). “Parasite links men in daring venture”. Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
- “Edward J. Hotez”. Hartford Courant. January 11, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
- Hotez, Peter [@PeterHotez] (July 10, 2020). “This is my dad, Eddie Hotez, buried in a Jewish cemetery with military honors in 2015. He didn’t fight at Okinawa Saipan Philippines, so we could descend into chaos. We have the tools now to defeat this virus, make schools, colleges, even the NFL, safe by the fall. Working on it” (Tweet). Retrieved November 27, 2020 – via Twitter.
- Hotez, Peter J. “Curriculum Vitae & Bibliography”. Baker Institute. Retrieved 2017-09-18.
- Safety and Immunogenicity of a Human Hookworm Candidate Vaccine With or Without Additional Adjuvant in Brazilian Adults,https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01261130?term=NCT01261130&rank=1
- A Phase I Study of the Safety, Reactogenicity, and Immunogenicity of Sm-TSP-2/Alhydrogel® With or Without GLA-AF for Intestinal Schistosomiasis in Healthy Adults, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02337855
- Encyclopedic Reference of Parasitology, Heinz Melhorn Ed. Vaccines against Nematodes.
- Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases: Integrated Chemotherapy and Beyond, http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/11016/1/pmed.0030112.pdf
- Look What Happens When You Pay Attention To Neglected Tropical Diseases, Bruce Y Lee, Forbes 4-24-2017,https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/04/24/look-what-happens-when-you-pay-attention-to-neglected-tropical-diseases/#1c513bba221a
- PLOS NTDs celebrates our 10th anniversary: Looking forward to the next decade, http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0006176
- Safety and Immunogenicity of a Human Hookworm Candidate Vaccine With or Without Additional Adjuvant in Brazilian Adults, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01261130?term=NCT01261130&rank=1
- Texas Children’s Hospital, https://www.texaschildrens.org/departments/vaccine-development/our-team
- Fresh Air (Interview) 24 November 2020. Interviewed by Terry Gross. WHYY; NPR.
- Hotez, Peter (2020-04-01). “The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that’s risky” (Interview). Interviewed by CNN. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
- Hotez, Peter (2020-04-01). “Dr. Peter Hotez: New data shows why young people must take COVID-19 spread seriously”(Interview). Interviewed by Fox News. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
- Hotez, Peter (2020-03-30). “Scientist Peter Hotez on Why Vaccine Development is ‘Critical to the Security of Our Nation‘“ (Interview). Interviewed by Texas Observer. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
- Hotez, Peter (2020-02-28). “Doctor uses reach of social media to ease COVID-19 pandemic fears” (Interview). Interviewed by American Medical Association. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
- Hotez, Peter (2020-03-09). “Reality check: How long could it take to develop coronavirus vaccine?” (Interview). Interviewed by KHOU. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
- Moran, Lee (2020-08-08). “Vaccine Expert Has Grim Prediction Of What Coronavirus Will Do ‘For Years And Years‘“. HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
- “Noticias de actualidad, emprendimientos de éxito en el ambito del cine para adultos o Porno”.
- “Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine to Receive B’nai B’rith’s Distinguished Achievement Award” (Press release). 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- “Bailey K. Ashford Medal”. American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- “Peter Hotez”. Institute of Medicine. 2014-08-15. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
- “WHO | Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases is feasible”. World Health Organization. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- “New NIH Council of Councils members named, April 26, 2011 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)”. Nih.gov. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2017-11-17.
- “American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene : ASTMH Names Peter Hotez as New President”. Astmh.org. November 7, 2010. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
- Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development: 9781555814403: Medicine & Health Science Books @. ASM Press. 2008. ISBN 978-1555814403.
- Parasitic Diseases, Fifth Edition: 9780970002778: Medicine & Health Science Books @. 2005. ISBN 978-0970002778.
- Arvin Ann (2004) . “Krugman’s Infectious Diseases of Children”. The New England Journal of Medicine (10th/11th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences. 338 (21): 785. doi:10.1056/NEJM199805213382119. ISBN 978-0-8151-5251-4. OL 687625M.
- Bloom, Barry (2021). “A doctor’s odyssey”. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Elsevier. 21 (4): 470. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00150-X. S2CID 233534467. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
- Walker, Paul. “Book review”. HealthMatters.org. Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
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