from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Ebola is scary. Absolutely. It’s concerning that Ebola vaccines and treatments have not been developed as quickly as other pharmaceuticals, but the current outbreak is certainly speeding up research efforts. However, the economics of developing treatments for various ailments isn’t always rational, given the examples of the wild success of the ALS ice bucket challenge and the failures of its knockoffs. If you need a reminder of other deadly diseases that still plague the world, here are just a few links on the topic.
- The US govt has stopped (temporarily?) funding for “gain-of-function (GOF)” experiments that could make viruses more pathogenic. This policy doesn’t stop amateurs and other researchers (or Nature itself!) from creating more deadly mutations, but it could slow down the progress of developing ways to fight off certain diseases and understanding how some pathogens (eg influenza) might mutate. [url]
- A number of diseases pose far larger threats than Ebola does. There has been a re-emergence of measles, pertussis (or whooping cough) and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The flu still kills thousands of people every year. [url]
- The WHO warns that multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a global threat to human health. The US saw a bit under 10,000 cases of TB in 2013 and 1.4% of those were drug resistant. Worldwide, 9 million people caught TB last year, and about 3.5% of those were resistant to antibiotics. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.