Putting shots in the locker

5 months ago Comments Off on Putting shots in the locker

FOREWARNED, the proverb has it, is forearmed. But what happens when there is no warning? That was the case in December 2013, when an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever began in Guinea. It spread rapidly to Liberia and Sierra Leone and raged on for over a year. Around 29,000 people were infected. More than 11,000 of them died.

The world responded to this crisis, shipping in doctors, nurses and medical equipment. But what it could not ship in, for none existed, was the thing that would most quickly have stopped the epidemic: a vaccine. Such a vaccine was created eventually, but by the time it was ready, the outbreak was all but over. Had it been available from the beginning, things could have been different.

Next time, though, they might be, for on August 31st a new organisation came into being. CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, was founded this week in London, at the headquarters of the Wellcome Trust, a medical charity. It is the joint brainchild of the Wellcome, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum and the government of Norway, and its purpose is precisely to forearm the world against…Continue reading
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