Initiatives selected by consensus will represent the region at the World Health Organization

Washington, D.C., 28 October 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — This October 23rd, representatives of health authorities from 19 countries in the Americas selected, by consensus, four innovative projects for research and development of medicines and other health technologies. The projects will represent the region before the Committee of World Experts that meets in December in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The chosen proposals include generating a coordination mechanism for the development of new tools for Chagas disease, the development of a vaccine against schistosomiasis, a diagnostic test for fever or sepsis and a novel treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis. Three other projects were selected as alternatives and have to do with developing affordable tests for cancer diagnosis, a mechanism for accelerating access to medicines for tuberculosis and a diagnostic kit for prenatal and postpartum diseases.

Representatives of the ministries of health of 19 countries of the Americas gathered on 22 and 23 October at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters and selected these proposals according to their technical feasibility and scientific bases.

Additionally, they assessed the projects on the basis of their proposed innovative financing and coordination mechanisms, which was expected to be framed within the recommendations of the Consultative Group of experts Group report on research and development: funding and coordination (CEWG), which urges countries to establish new mechanisms (and strengthen existing ones) to improve the research and development of health technologies to address the gaps in public health in low-income countries.

The delegates considered that the projects should take into account the importance of improving access to health technologies in developing countries and use mechanisms that allow the delinking of the cost of research and development and the price at which the product is marketed.

This selection process is part of a global initiative that involves the six WHO regions and that will culminate in the selection of a limited number of "demonstration projects" to be presented during the World Health Assembly in 2014.

There were 29 submissions for the region of the Americas. The call for proposals was open to all sectors, including representatives of civil society, the academic centers and research, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations of public health. PAHO/WHO coordinated the process and the appeal, insofar as the Member States had the responsibility for selecting projects that will represent the region of the Americas according to very specific criteria.  

In May of 2013, the 66th World Health Assembly adopted a resolution that urges  WHO and its regional offices and Member States to identify gaps in research and development related to the development, manufacturing and distribution of products. It also establishes the need to identify projects that demonstrate innovative mechanisms of financing and coordination for research and development of medicines, diagnostic or other health technologies, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to these for the most vulnerable populations.

Selected projects (no order of priority):

    1.  Chagas R & D Accelerator Initiative: a coordination mechanism for accelerating the development of new health tools for Chagas diseases

    2.  Development of a vaccine against schistosomiasis based on the recombinant SM14 a member of the fatty acid binding protein: controlling transmission of a disease of poverty

    3.  Ecosystem for Financing Development of an Open Source Multiplex Point of Care (POC) Diagnostic Test for the Differential Diagnosis of Fever or Sepsis, Henceforward, this will be referred to as the Open Source Fever Diagnostic Project)

    4.  Development of a Class D CPG ODN (D35 as an adjunct to chemotherapy for cutaneous leishmaniasis and post Kala-Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL)

    Alternative projects (in order of priority)

    5. Affordable Diagnostic Tests for Cancer

    6. Accelerating Innovation and Access to Medicines for Tuberculosis Through Open Collaboration: A Push, Pull, Pool Approach ("The 3 p Project")

    7. Establishment of Public-Private Partnership for the Development of a Diagnostic Kit for Prenatal and Postpartum)

    pdf Table of selection of projects

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