1. What does the Center consider to be a “neglected disease”?
The Center defines ‘neglected disease’ as those diseases afflicting poor countries for which there is insufficient R&D to develop new health technologies. This includes AIDS, Malaria, and TB as well as the neglected tropical diseases: Buruli Ulcer, Chagas disease(American trypanosomiasis), Dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever, Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), Fascioliasis, Human African trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil transmitted helminthiasis, Snakebite, Trachoma, and Yaws.
Developing countries also need new tools suited to their circumstances to combat health problems that are common in both rich and poor countries, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics used for these conditions in rich countries may be too expensive for developing countries, too difficult to use where health systems are weak, or ill-suited to local conditions or disease strains.
2. Is there really a lack of R&D for neglected diseases? Why?
New vaccines, drugs, and tests for the diseases above could bring dramatic benefits to developing countries. However, the people most in need of these new technologies have few resources to pay for them. The resulting small and uncertain markets have deterred investment by the private pharmaceutical industry. The public-sector agencies in high income countries that fund much of basic biomedical research have also focused primarily on diseases that are important within their own countries. The result is the often-cited “90/10 gap”: only 10 percent of health research and development (R&D) spending is devoted to the health problems of 90 percent of the world’s population.
3. How does the Center relate to other work in R&D for neglected disease in the broader global health community like the WHO Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination?
The Center strives to conduct neutral, rigorous, in-depth assessments of a small number of new policy ideas for accelerating R&D for global health technologies. We see our role as ‘vetters’ and will disseminate our findings and analysis to relevant decision makers and advocates. Our work aims to be complementary to the work of the CEWG and assessments will be shared with the CEWG.
4. Are you also helping to design new ideas to accelerate global health R&D?
No. In assessing a proposal, we ask questions and analyze design choices. Our assessments may stimulate designers to further elaborate their ideas. However, we do not develop new proposals or advise proponents on how to advance their work.
5. Will I have an opportunity to comment on the assessments you do?
Yes. Most papers we produce will be posted online in draft form for public comment before being finalized. If you would like to receive an email announcing public comment periods, please send us your name, organization, and contact information.
6. How will you communicate assessment findings to the broader global health community?
After each assessment is completed, the findings will be posted to this website. In addition, Results for Development will convene smaller groups of stakeholders, including funders, to share assessment results. Summaries of these assessments may also be published as journal articles or in other publications.
7. How can I get involved in this Center?
We welcome expressions of interest from individuals with backgrounds in policy or finance to accelerate R&D for neglected diseases. If you have a particular expertise related to this field, please send us a message. Please include a statement of interest as well as a brief bio.
8. What should I do if I have a proposal to include in your idea browser or assessment pipeline?
Our team is continually searching for, reviewing and vetting new proposals to accelerate R&D for neglected diseases. If you or your organization has a proposal that you are interested in sharing, email us a brief summary.