Multimillion dollar Ebola investment

Posted Aug 24, 2014 by Tim Sandle
The Wellcome Trust has launched a new multimillion dollar initiative for emergency Ebola research coupled with an investment for longer-term medical research in Africa.
Staff of the Doctors without Borders (Medecin sans frontieres) medical aid organisation carry the bo...
Staff of the Doctors without Borders (Medecin sans frontieres) medical aid organisation carry the body of a person killed by viral haemorrhagic fever, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014
Seyllou, AFP/File
This announcement comes shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it will allow untested treatments for Ebola to be used in West Africa. This news also comes as the death toll from the virus passes the 1,000 mark.
The emergency Ebola initiative from the Wellcome Trust will support research that can quickly begin to investigate new approaches to treating, preventing and containing the disease during the current epidemic in West Africa. The investment also supports research into the ethical challenges of testing experimental medicines during epidemics.
In further detail, the goals are to identify clinical and public health interventions, including drugs and vaccines, with the potential to contribute to tackling the present crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, and to inform the way in which future epidemics of Ebola and other infectious diseases are handled.
As well as funding emergency Ebola research, the Wellcome Trust is making a further long-term commitment to African health through a program of support for excellence in African research. The object is to help the continent to develop a strong medical research base.
The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. It operates internationally and the headquarters are in London, U.K.
Commenting on the investment, Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, said in a statement: “The Wellcome Trust is investing today in a package of research that can make a difference to Africa in the short, the medium and the long term. Measures to contain, treat and prevent diseases such as Ebola can be evaluated only in the context of epidemics like this one, which is why support for research is needed immediately. We are grateful to the partners who have helped us to launch these initiatives so quickly.
“The gravity of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa demands an urgent response, and we believe rapid research into humanitarian interventions and therapeutics can have an impact on treatment and containment during the present outbreak. What we learn could also change the way we approach future outbreaks, providing us with tested tools and techniques that were not available to public health authorities this time.”
Thus the overall aim is to help build a research base in Africa to address emerging and endemic infections.