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Sustained Research, Development Of Ebola Vaccine Critical To Ending Epidemic, Future Disease Outbreaks

The Guardian: Ebola will always return unless we develop the tools to end it
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and professor of global health, and Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer and worldwide chair of Johnson & Johnson

“…The biggest lesson we have learned with Ebola is that it will return, and we have to be prepared for — and prevent — the next epidemic. That’s why [the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Johnson & Johnson] have just launched an important new Ebola vaccine trial in Sierra Leone, and it’s why we strongly support the many other vaccine trials that are under way in West Africa. … Every potential vaccine candidate and prevention tool needs to be tested, but we also need to guarantee a market for new life-saving technologies. … [T]he world needs to create a fund to help pay for the development and distribution of vaccines for [Ebola] and many other emerging epidemics and infectious diseases. … The priorities now are to strengthen local capacities to detect and promptly contain epidemics, and to intensify research and development for vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics…” (11/24).

New York Times: Amid Failure and Chaos, an Ebola Vaccine
Tina Rosenberg, author and Pulitzer Prize winner

“…The Ebola vaccine is a double achievement. Researchers proved the effectiveness not just of a novel vaccine, but also of a novel method of testing it rapidly, in chaotic conditions, and without traditional clinical trials. Even as it was being tested, the vaccine was helping to contain Ebola. Today, hopes are high that it will administer the coup de grace to the epidemic. How was this achieved? And what can the world learn that will save lives and money in fighting future outbreaks of Ebola or other pathogens? … Before being used in an outbreak, vaccine candidates must have already completed animal tests and Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, so we know they are safe and can provoke an immune system response. They then must be manufactured to the highest standards and stockpiled in a large enough quantity for emergency use. Regulators in developed countries and countries likely to be hit must grant clearance to use the vaccine. And for all of this, there must be sustained money and attention — ‘in peacetime,’ as [Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general of the WHO for health systems and innovation,] puts it…” (11/24).

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