A research and development Blueprint for action to prevent epidemics

Update on the R&D Blueprint Activities

Read the latest on Blueprint achievements and activities to improve R&D preparedness during public health emergencies. A list of anticipated benefits for the three areas of work is available here below.

Towards Better Zika Diagnostic Tests

There is a need to continue the global scientific effort to gain a better understanding of the Zika virus, its vectors, modes of transmission and the natural history of the disease. Key to this effort is having an accurate diagnosis of Zika virus infection, however, available tests are limited by several factors. WHO’s current R&D activities on Zika diagnostics are summarized in this publication in PLoS NTD. WHO will continue its R&D work on Zika under the WHO R&D Blueprint effort.

WHO publishes revised list of diseases likely to cause public health emergencies

WHO today publishes a revised list of priority diseases that need urgent R&D in order to prevent public health emergencies in the near future. The list includes nine disease categories for which few or no medical countermeasures exist due to market failures or lack of scientific knowledge. The diseases provide the basis for work on the WHO R&D Blueprint for emergency preparedness and response. The current list of diseases builds on the first such list developed by a coalition of international experts convened by WHO in November 2015.

Regulatory gaps during emergencies must be addressed

A public health emergency in a badly regulated environment leaves the door open to the production and commercialisation of poor quality and unsafe products. The 17th International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) focused on the need for international collaboration between national regulatory authorities (NRAs) to expand patient access to safe and effective diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and medical devices that may be developed during a public health emergency. NRAs are still unprepared to face a public health emergency, they lack resources and support in large regions of the developing world, have limited experience of communicating with stakeholders, media and public, and lack of regulators early stage engagement in product development. Gaps and recommendations are now available.

Public consultation on WHO MERS-CoV Vaccine Target Product Profiles

As of January 2017, WHO has been notified of 1,879 laboratory confirmed cases of infection and at least 659 deaths related to MERS-CoV. WHO has drafted a set of MERS-CoV vaccine Target Product Profiles following the strategies outlined in the MERS-CoV roadmap led by WHO and developed with key stakeholders. The draft TPPs are for 2 human vaccines (for reactive use in outbreak settings and for long term protection of high risk groups) and 1 animal vaccine (for prevention of transmission from dromedary camels to humans). The draft document is made available here for public consultation. Please send any comments on the attached comment form to chuaa@who.int, with your name and affiliation by 17 February 2017. Comments may be submitted by individuals or organizations. These comments may be made available at a later date, and by submitting comments you are giving permission for the comments to be made publicly available. WHO will finalise the WHO MERS-CoV Target Product Profiles, after taking into account comments received.

Developing guidance tools for biological sample sharing in public health emergencies

An effective response to a public health emergency can depend on being able to move biological material and data from one place to another to advance research into the vector and appropriate medical countermeasures. The movement of such samples and any associated data needs to be as simple and transparent as possible, and it needs to protect the interests of the owners of the samples.

About R&D Blueprint

The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan to ensure that targeted R&D can strengthen the emergency response by bringing medical technologies to patients during epidemics.

3 approaches for key actions

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