Ebola Outbreak Highlights Struggle for Science in Africa and Inequalities in Global Health Research

As authorities scramble to contain the spread of Ebola, it helps to take a step back and examine why the science has not kept pace. Despite some promising advances in immunotherapy, there remains a great deal we haven’t learned about the virus. In part, the lack of research in “non-profitable” infectious diseases occurring in underprivileged countries has left threats like Ebola largely unaddressed. In addition, inequalities within the system of international scientific collaboration have hindered African researchers from leading the way against diseases ravaging their continent.

Similar concerns were echoed by the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, who acknowledged in a recent interview that the quest for an Ebola vaccine in the United States had been slowed by a combination of lack of interest from the pharmaceutical industry and domestic budget cuts to basic research. With the arrival of the first Ebola patient on U.S. soil, however, the urgency to find a cure has hit home.

Nonetheless, individual states cannot be expected to replace what needs to be a coordinated effort. Speakers at a security meeting last month acknowledged that investing in Africa’s ailing healthcare infrastructure, while necessary, was unsustainable. What is needed are —> Read More Here


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