My July 18 event post talked about The National Academy of Medicine’s “Global Health Risk Framework” program, just held in Hong Kong from August 19-21, one of four related sessions this summer. I had the privilege of participating in the “Workshop on Research and Development of Medical Products.” The world’s response to Ebola was discussed frequently, particularly lessons learned and potential improvements in many dimensions to get out in front of the next potential epidemic.
(The following video, recently posted by the Centers for Disease Control, may be a helpful introduction to the topic of “Getting to Zero” for further outbreaks. You can find many more videos and photos at the Ebola information at CDC website and other health organizations.)
This program took a fascinating and multidisciplinary look at impediments and potential improvements in preparedness in how the world responds to global health threats posed by infectious diseases. Clearly, we can do a much better job responding to epidemic and pandemic disease threats. I’m keen to see the Commission’s synthesis and report, which will be released by the Academy later this year. Key recommendations from the report also will be provided to the World Health Organization in time for high level meetings in November.
My own panel session dealt with impediments to sharing of research materials and data, including material transfer agreements, liability and patents. And my remarks focused on the exchange of materials and data, which include not only viral isolates from infected patients, but genomic sequences of suspected pathogens and clinical data about safety and efficacy of candidate therapeutics, vaccines and diagnostics. These items are transferred between various researchers and institutions over extended periods of time as a threat is recognized and addressed.
I’ve blogged before about the importance of asking questions in the context of material transfer agreements and also developing a vision of what outcomes are possible. That’s still very much part of the solution in this global context. My slides expand upon some points to consider that would facilitate the exchange of research materials and data. You can download them here.