At the request of its 194 Member States, following the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed A Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics. A key component of the blueprint is the creation of R&D roadmaps for priority pathogens of concern. Each roadmap will provide a framework that identifies the vision, strategic goals, and priority areas for accelerated R&D needed for disease prevention and control. The goal of each roadmap is to promote development and evaluation of medical countermeasures (diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines) for the pathogen.
CIDRAP has been selected to work closely with the WHO to develop R&D roadmaps for Ebola/Marburg, Nipah, and Lassa viruses. This work is being funded through support from Wellcome, a key partner in this undertaking.
Key steps for the development of each roadmap include the following:
- Conduct background research regarding the current status of medical countermeasure development for the pathogen.
- Conduct a gap analysis to determine where additional research and development are needed.
- Develop a roadmap draft, with input and support from a core group of selected subject matter experts (SMEs).
- Convene an in-person consultation with a larger group of diverse international SMEs, including representation from affected countries, to obtain input on the draft document.
- Revise the roadmap (again with support from a small group of key SMEs) and then complete a vetting and review process involving the primary partners and stakeholders.
- Finalize the roadmap for joint publication by CIDRAP and the WHO (anticipated to be in late summer 2018).