Israel Should Engage In R&D Efforts To Address Infectious Disease Threats Likely To Emerge From Conflict-Ridden Regions
Jerusalem Post: Israel’s special role in global health science and diplomacy
Peter Hotez, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and U.S. State Department science envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, and Zvi Bentwich, head of the Center for Emerging Diseases, Tropical Diseases and AIDS (CEMTA) at Ben Gurion University
“…One reason Israeli science should take note of [the shortcomings in global response capabilities to public health emergencies] is the vulnerability of the Middle East and North African region to lethal epidemics of neglected tropical diseases. Although we designate such infections as ‘tropical’ the truth is that diseases such as Ebola emerge primarily in the setting of extreme poverty together with breakdowns of public health infrastructure linked to conflict or post-conflict. … Israel boasts the highest-ranked research universities and institutes in the Middle East, so we could look to them for taking leadership in global health vaccines. However, they may not have the product development infrastructure to do this alone. Instead Israel has the opportunity to collaborate with more than a dozen so-called product development partnerships — PDPs — which are international non-profit organizations that use industry practices to make neglected disease drugs and vaccines. … Israel now has [an] opportunity to engage in producing biotechnologies to combat infectious disease threats that will almost surely emerge in conflict-ridden Syria, Iraq, and Libya and ultimately advance to threaten Israel and the entire region” (1/5).