A research and development Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics
2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases
The second annual review of the Blueprint priority diseases was held in February 2018. WHO has developed a special tool for determining which diseases and pathogens to prioritize for research and development in public health emergency contexts. This tool seeks to identify those diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. Experts consider that given their potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficacious drugs and/or vaccines, there is an urgent need for accelerated research and development for nine diseases.
Expanded access to experimental Ebola vaccines during outbreaks
On 17-18 September 2017, WHO convened a workshop on expanded access to experimental Ebola vaccines. Deploying experimental vaccines effectively and ethically requires careful planning in accordance with regulatory requirements and international guidelines. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the implementation of SAGE recommendations on the use of experimental Ebola vaccines during outbreaks. The workshop aimed to identify key actions to guide the future use of experimental Ebola vaccines under an Expanded Access framework.
A Guide to Sharing the Data and Benefits of Public Health Surveillance
The Guide, developed as part of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security project, is intended to facilitate both informal and formal data sharing, and to be used when a need to share public health surveillance data has been identified or when obstacles to sharing have been encountered. It aims to help create the right environment for data sharing, to facilitate good practice in addressing technical, political, ethical, economic and legal concerns.
Regulatory preparedness key to addressing public health emergencies
The 2014-2016 Ebola crisis in West Africa highlighted major shortcomings in the world’s preparedness for serious epidemics and public health emergencies. It also showed that National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) have a strong role to play, but they must have strong preparedness and response plans in place.
To that end, WHO held an informal consultation in Geneva, on 17-19 May, on options to improve regulatory preparedness and how WHO can support the process.
WHO Material Transfer Agreement capacity building tool
WHO is developing a web-based tool to facilitate discussions between parties and ensure that all those involved with negotiating the movement of samples are empowered to protect their interests. The tool specifically addresses benefit sharing, and discusses in detail possible approaches that can be used to share samples and benefits on the same footing. It provides concrete, real world examples of how these can be embedded in an MTA. The public consultation on the draft MTA tool text content closed on 16 June. A first version of the draft online tool will be made available for consultation later this year.
WHO Publishes Nipah Vaccine Target Product Profile
Nipah virus is one of the pathogens in the WHO R&D Blueprint list of epidemic threats needing urgent R&D action. Nipah virus was first identified during an outbreak of disease that took place in Malaysia in 1998. Both animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission have been documented. From 1998 to 2015, more than 600 cases of Nipah virus human infections were reported. Subsequent outbreaks in India and Bangladesh have occurred with high case fatality.
WHO has finalized a Nipah virus vaccine target product profile, which is available here after comments from a public consultation were addressed.
WHO Publishes Lassa Fever Vaccine Target Product Profile
Lassa Fever is one of the pathogens in the WHO R&D Blueprint list of epidemic threats needing urgent R&D action. It is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness caused by Lassa virus, first identified in1969 in Nigeria. It is endemic in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria with peaks in incidence closely related to seasonal patterns. Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces. Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures.
WHO has finalized a Lassa Fever vaccine target product profile for preventive use, which is available here after comments from a public consultation were addressed.