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More dangerous outbreaks are happening. Why aren't we worried about the next epidemic?

Source(s):  Huffington Post Inc.

By Lauren Weber


But ultimately, a rise in awareness does not fully account for the rise in such outbreak events, experts say. Several major factors are to blame for why the world is seeing more of these increasingly dangerous pathogens. The combination of massive widespread urbanization, explosive population growth, increased global travel, changing ecological factors, steady climate change and the exploitation of environments is driving an era of converging risk for outbreaks, experts say.


The creation of a global organization like CEPI is essential because, as Hatchett puts it, there’s no commercial demand for these drugs ― until people really want them. In other words, funding the expensive development of drugs for, typically, poor people in poor countries is not profitable.  

The failure to develop drugs that fight these rare, but potentially disastrous, outbreaks means when the world really needs them, they will be years behind. It would cost a couple billion to bring vaccines and treatments to market for all 10 of the known diseases on the list, according to CEPI calculations. It is starting with $630 million raised so far on targeting MERS, Nipah and Lassa.

Yet, public health experts often cite the panic-driven cycle of epidemic and public health funding, which relies on these outbreaks being top of mind. And the R&D to fight them is no different.


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  • Publication date 18 Jul 2018

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