WHO’s priority diseases for 2017

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has a newly updated list of priority diseases for 2017.

The list includes: arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers (including Lassa Fever); Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF); filoviral diseases (including Ebola and Marburg); Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV); other highly pathogenic coronaviral diseases (such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)); Nipah virus and related henipaviral diseases; Rift Valley Fever (RVF); Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS); and Zika.

WHO reviewed its draft methodology for prioritising diseases under its Research and Development Blueprint (R&D Blueprint) at an informal consultation in November 2016 featuring experts in human and animal health, epidemiology, applied mathematics and safety, along with relevant researchers and clinicians.

The diseases in the R&D Blueprint are severe emerging diseases that have the potential to generate a public health emergency and for which no preventative and curative solutions exist (or they are insufficient). The methodology identifies the diseases that most readily meet these characteristics. The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan that enables R&D activities to be swiftly activated during epidemics. It works to fast-track the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines.