In diagnostics, capacity building, coordination and new medicines, we’re reading why preparedness makes all the difference

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NewWWRWhy the world needs an essential diagnostics list – When a  man in Angola’s capital city fell ill and died last December, the four weeks that passed before laboratory testing confirmed the cause gave the current yellow fever outbreak in that country a running start. “Without diagnostics,” as this Forbes piece puts it, “medicine is blind.” The post, by professors at the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and McGill Global Health Program, spells out the reasons that a list of essential diagnostics is as necessary as the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines that has existed since 1977. In addition to improved detection of infectious disease threats, they include improved treatment and outcomes with reduced risks of drug-resistant strains of disease.

This US government program may have stopped Ebola — but never had the funding it requested – An investment of about $200 million a year in a program building countries’ capacities to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks could have averted the enormity — and billions of dollars in costs — of the disaster the West Africa Ebola outbreak became, this report from the Medill National Security Reporting Project and Vice News says. Instead the Global Disease Detection program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received a fraction of what it needed, the report says, in spite of clear gaps in the most vulnerable regions.

UN bungles response to Africa’s yellow fever outbreak – Yet another reason readiness for infectious disease outbreaks makes all the difference is given in this Associated Press investigation that finds the World Health Organization repeating the pattern of mismanagement that blighted its response to Ebola in 2014 now, in its response to the current yellow fever outbreak.

Millions injected into push for new antibiotics – Bacteria that are resistant to current treatments threaten the gains of modern medicine and take the lives of an estimated 700,000 people a year globally, but costs have outweighed incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotic drugs. This National Geographic report by science writer Maryn McKenna describes a partnership providing both focus and funding for new approaches to antimicrobial research and development.

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