R&D Blueprint

List of Blueprint priority diseases

For the purposes of the R&D Blueprint, 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 attempts to identify those diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. The diseases selected through this process are the focus of the work of R& D Blueprint. This is not an exhaustive list, nor does it indicate the most likely causes of the next epidemic. It should be noted that diseases such as influenza, yellow-fever, cholera etc., which present significant health risks, are absent from this list because medical countermeasures are available for them or they are already the focus of dedicated R&D activities.

The initial list of prioritized diseases was established in December 2015.

The list is reviewed and revised on an annual basis in order to insure a dynamic process. The most recent review was in January 2017.

Revised list of priority diseases, January 2017

  • Arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers (including Lassa Fever)
  • Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)
  • Filoviral diseases (including Ebola and Marburg)
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
  • Other highly pathogenic coronaviral diseases (such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, (SARS))
  • Nipah and related henipaviral diseases
  • Rift Valley Fever (RVF)
  • Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS)
  • Zika
  • Disease X *

*Any disease identified prior to the next review using the Blueprint’s decision instrument will be included in the list.

NB: the Chikungunya virus was discussed during the meeting and a number of experts stressed the risks it poses. Along with a number of other pathogens, there was agreement that Chikungunya Virus continues to warrant further research and development.

The prioritization methodology is a standardized process described here. This methodology has been reviewed and validated in 2016.

R&D key actions by diseases