Offering patients more: how the West Africa Ebola outbreak can shape innovation in therapeutic research for emerging and epidemic infections
Rojek AM., Horby PW.
Although, after an epidemic of over 28 000 cases, there are still no licensed treatments for Ebola virus disease (EVD), significant progress was made during the West Africa outbreak. The pace of pre-clinical development was exceptional and a number of therapeutic clinical trials were conducted in the face of considerable challenges. Given the on-going risk of emerging infectious disease outbreaks in an era of unprecedented population density, international travel and human impact on the environment it is pertinent to focus on improving the research and development landscape for treatments of emerging and epidemic-prone infections. This is especially the case since there are no licensed therapeutics for some of the diseases considered by the World Health Organization as most likely to cause severe outbreaks—including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Marburg virus, Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever and Nipah virus. EVD, therefore, provides a timely exemplar to discuss the barriers, enablers and incentives needed to find effective treatments in advance of health emergencies caused by emerging infectious diseases. This article is part of the themed issue ‘The 2013–2016 West African Ebola epidemic: data, decision-making and disease control’.