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Effective Medical Tools, Strong Health Systems Vital To Preventing, Responding To Disease Outbreaks

BBC News: Lassa fever: The killer disease with no vaccine
Charlie Weller, head of vaccines at the Wellcome Trust

“…[T]he fight against Lassa — and other infectious diseases — is hampered by a lack of effective medical tools like diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines. It is likely that a vaccine could be found for Lassa — reducing the possibility of an outbreak becoming a global health emergency — but as with other epidemic diseases that mainly affect poorer countries, progress has stalled. … A new organization called CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) … hopes to accelerate vaccine production. Lassa is one of the diseases on its hit list and it’s hoped one or more promising vaccines will be ready for large-scale testing in the next five years. … But research alone isn’t enough. Stronger health systems are needed in the countries where epidemics are most likely to arise. This could mean building better health care facilities and training staff to recognize and respond to outbreaks. It will also mean working with communities to understand how to identify outbreaks at an early stage and prevent their spread” (3/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.