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Ebola research funding: a systematic analysis, 1997–2015

Ebola research funding: a systematic analysis, 1997–2015
Ebola research funding: a systematic analysis, 1997–2015
Background: The latest outbreak of Ebola in West Africa overwhelmed the affected countries, with the impact on health extending far beyond Ebola–related deaths that have exceeded 11?000. The need to promptly mobilise resources to control emerging infections is widely recognized. Yet, data on research funding for emerging infections remains inadequately documented.

Methods: We defined research investment as all funding flows for Ebola and/or Marburg virus from 1997 to April 2015 whose primary purpose was to advance knowledge and new technologies to prevent or cure disease. We sourced data directly from funding organizations and estimated the investment in 2015 US dollars (US$).

Results: Funding for Ebola and Marburg virus research in 1997 to 2015 amounted to US$ 1.035 billion, including US$ 435.4 million (42.0%) awarded in 2014 and 2015. Public sources of funding invested US$ 758.8 million (73.1%), philanthropic sources US$ 65.1 million (6.3%), and joint public/private/philanthropic ventures accounted for US$ 213.8 million (20.6%). Prior to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, pre–clinical research dominated research with US$ 443.6 million (73.9%) investment. After the outbreak, however, investment for new product development increased 942.7–fold and that for clinical trials rose 23.5–fold. Investment in new tools to control Ebola and Marburg virus amounted to US$ 399.1 million, with 61.3% awarded for vaccine research, 29.2% for novel therapeutics research such as antivirals and convalescent blood products, and 9.5% for diagnostics research. Research funding and bibliometric output were moderately associated (Spearman's ??=?0.5232, P?=?0.0259), however number of Ebola cases in previous outbreaks and research funding (??=?0.1706, P?=?0.4985) and Ebola cases in previous outbreaks and research output (??=?0.3020, P?=?0.0616) were poorly correlated.

Conclusion: Significant public and philanthropic funds have been invested in Ebola and Marburg virus research in 2014 and 2015, following the outbreak in West Africa. Long term, strategic vision and leadership are needed to invest in infections with pandemic potential early, including innovative financing measures and open access investment data to promote the development of new therapies and technologies.
1-10
Fitchett, Joseph R.A.
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Lichtman, Amos
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Soyode, Damilola T.
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Low, Ariel
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Villar de Onis, Jimena
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Head, Michael
67ce0afc-2fc3-47f4-acf2-8794d27ce69c
Atun, Rifat
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Fitchett, Joseph R.A.
3d59134c-8836-4c0c-a8bf-399b363db5e1
Lichtman, Amos
888ae9ab-fd2f-4fbf-991a-71fb816bd8b1
Soyode, Damilola T.
78810a8f-fda0-418d-982b-340ffa7b212e
Low, Ariel
20b10106-440d-4b98-b474-a411c2c67b68
Villar de Onis, Jimena
1e16cb95-77be-4ccb-8335-e61229a7d8b2
Head, Michael
67ce0afc-2fc3-47f4-acf2-8794d27ce69c
Atun, Rifat
20f14d3b-facf-4079-8566-eb6d13521a34

Fitchett, Joseph R.A., Lichtman, Amos, Soyode, Damilola T., Low, Ariel, Villar de Onis, Jimena, Head, Michael and Atun, Rifat (2016) Ebola research funding: a systematic analysis, 1997–2015. Journal of Global Health, 6 (2), 1-10. (doi:10.7189/jogh.06.020703).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: The latest outbreak of Ebola in West Africa overwhelmed the affected countries, with the impact on health extending far beyond Ebola–related deaths that have exceeded 11?000. The need to promptly mobilise resources to control emerging infections is widely recognized. Yet, data on research funding for emerging infections remains inadequately documented.

Methods: We defined research investment as all funding flows for Ebola and/or Marburg virus from 1997 to April 2015 whose primary purpose was to advance knowledge and new technologies to prevent or cure disease. We sourced data directly from funding organizations and estimated the investment in 2015 US dollars (US$).

Results: Funding for Ebola and Marburg virus research in 1997 to 2015 amounted to US$ 1.035 billion, including US$ 435.4 million (42.0%) awarded in 2014 and 2015. Public sources of funding invested US$ 758.8 million (73.1%), philanthropic sources US$ 65.1 million (6.3%), and joint public/private/philanthropic ventures accounted for US$ 213.8 million (20.6%). Prior to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, pre–clinical research dominated research with US$ 443.6 million (73.9%) investment. After the outbreak, however, investment for new product development increased 942.7–fold and that for clinical trials rose 23.5–fold. Investment in new tools to control Ebola and Marburg virus amounted to US$ 399.1 million, with 61.3% awarded for vaccine research, 29.2% for novel therapeutics research such as antivirals and convalescent blood products, and 9.5% for diagnostics research. Research funding and bibliometric output were moderately associated (Spearman's ??=?0.5232, P?=?0.0259), however number of Ebola cases in previous outbreaks and research funding (??=?0.1706, P?=?0.4985) and Ebola cases in previous outbreaks and research output (??=?0.3020, P?=?0.0616) were poorly correlated.

Conclusion: Significant public and philanthropic funds have been invested in Ebola and Marburg virus research in 2014 and 2015, following the outbreak in West Africa. Long term, strategic vision and leadership are needed to invest in infections with pandemic potential early, including innovative financing measures and open access investment data to promote the development of new therapies and technologies.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 October 2016
Published date: December 2016
Organisations: CES General, Clinical & Experimental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403022
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403022
PURE UUID: 8670406e-4425-49c9-acbd-113efe8b9fc7
ORCID for Michael Head: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1189-0531

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Date deposited: 22 Nov 2016 14:15
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 01:33

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