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Research investments in global health: a systematic analysis of UK infectious disease research funding and global health metrics, 1997–2013

Research investments in global health: a systematic analysis of UK infectious disease research funding and global health metrics, 1997–2013
Research investments in global health: a systematic analysis of UK infectious disease research funding and global health metrics, 1997–2013
Background: Infectious diseases account for a significant global burden of disease and substantial investment in research and development. This paper presents a systematic assessment of research investments awarded to UK institutions and global health metrics assessing disease burden.

Methods: We systematically sourced research funding data awarded from public and philanthropic organisations between 1997 and 2013. We screened awards for relevance to infection and categorised data by type of science, disease area and specific pathogen. Investments were compared with mortality, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and years lived with disability (YLD) across three time points.

Findings: Between 1997–2013, there were 7398 awards with a total investment of £3.7 billion. An increase in research funding across 2011–2013 was observed for most disease areas, with notable exceptions being sexually transmitted infections and sepsis research where funding decreased. Most funding remains for pre-clinical research (£2.2 billion, 59.4%). Relative to global mortality, DALYs and YLDs, acute hepatitis C, leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis received comparatively high levels of funding. Pneumonia, shigellosis, pertussis, cholera and syphilis were poorly funded across all health metrics. Tuberculosis (TB) consistently attracts relatively less funding than HIV and malaria.

Interpretation: Most infections have received increases in research investment, alongside decreases in global burden of disease in 2013. The UK demonstrates research strengths in some neglected tropical diseases such as African trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, but syphilis, cholera, shigellosis and pneumonia remain poorly funded relative to their global burden. Acute hepatitis C appears well funded but the figures do not adequately take into account projected future chronic burdens for this condition. These findings can help to inform global policymakers on resource allocation for research investment.
infectious disease, research investment, disease burnden, global health, funding
180-190
Head, Michael
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Fitchett, Joseph R.
1eae456d-373c-428b-a276-353f0a75822e
Nageshwaran, Vaitehi
679435da-864e-47d6-b926-48250bf8fea9
Kumari, Nina
45df1a81-7d5b-4a77-8c47-8d85e1a3f544
Hayward, Andrew
fbd5098c-bd3d-455d-b09a-4f3b403baecd
Atun, Rifat
20f14d3b-facf-4079-8566-eb6d13521a34
Head, Michael
67ce0afc-2fc3-47f4-acf2-8794d27ce69c
Fitchett, Joseph R.
1eae456d-373c-428b-a276-353f0a75822e
Nageshwaran, Vaitehi
679435da-864e-47d6-b926-48250bf8fea9
Kumari, Nina
45df1a81-7d5b-4a77-8c47-8d85e1a3f544
Hayward, Andrew
fbd5098c-bd3d-455d-b09a-4f3b403baecd
Atun, Rifat
20f14d3b-facf-4079-8566-eb6d13521a34

Head, Michael, Fitchett, Joseph R., Nageshwaran, Vaitehi, Kumari, Nina, Hayward, Andrew and Atun, Rifat (2016) Research investments in global health: a systematic analysis of UK infectious disease research funding and global health metrics, 1997–2013. EBioMedicine, 3, 180-190. (doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.12.016).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Infectious diseases account for a significant global burden of disease and substantial investment in research and development. This paper presents a systematic assessment of research investments awarded to UK institutions and global health metrics assessing disease burden.

Methods: We systematically sourced research funding data awarded from public and philanthropic organisations between 1997 and 2013. We screened awards for relevance to infection and categorised data by type of science, disease area and specific pathogen. Investments were compared with mortality, disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and years lived with disability (YLD) across three time points.

Findings: Between 1997–2013, there were 7398 awards with a total investment of £3.7 billion. An increase in research funding across 2011–2013 was observed for most disease areas, with notable exceptions being sexually transmitted infections and sepsis research where funding decreased. Most funding remains for pre-clinical research (£2.2 billion, 59.4%). Relative to global mortality, DALYs and YLDs, acute hepatitis C, leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis received comparatively high levels of funding. Pneumonia, shigellosis, pertussis, cholera and syphilis were poorly funded across all health metrics. Tuberculosis (TB) consistently attracts relatively less funding than HIV and malaria.

Interpretation: Most infections have received increases in research investment, alongside decreases in global burden of disease in 2013. The UK demonstrates research strengths in some neglected tropical diseases such as African trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, but syphilis, cholera, shigellosis and pneumonia remain poorly funded relative to their global burden. Acute hepatitis C appears well funded but the figures do not adequately take into account projected future chronic burdens for this condition. These findings can help to inform global policymakers on resource allocation for research investment.

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Accepted/In Press date: 14 December 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 December 2015
Published date: January 2016
Keywords: infectious disease, research investment, disease burnden, global health, funding
Organisations: CES General, Clinical & Experimental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 386488
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/386488
PURE UUID: 912c400b-29ff-4023-bf0c-d1f8896f6a0c
ORCID for Michael Head: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1189-0531

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Date deposited: 01 Feb 2016 14:54
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:33

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Contributors

Author: Michael Head ORCID iD
Author: Joseph R. Fitchett
Author: Vaitehi Nageshwaran
Author: Nina Kumari
Author: Andrew Hayward
Author: Rifat Atun

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