PRIORITY DISEASES NEEDING R&D ACTIONS
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)
- 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.