Vaccine child medicine pharmaceutical health Gates Foundation/Flickr

所有人的救命药

普林斯顿—始于去年的利比里亚、塞拉利昂和几内亚的埃博拉致命大爆发凸显出制药生产的一个问题。一旦情况清楚地表明传染病无法得到迅速遏制,一些企业就会迅速安排潜在治疗和疫苗的临床试验,这表明它们已经具备了生产可靠潜在产品的能力。

埃博拉不是新疾病:它在1976年就已经得到了识别。但是,在2014年前,最大的爆发发生在2000年的乌干达,425人被感染,224人死亡。尽管我们已知埃博拉具有传染性和高致死率,但我们认为只有非洲贫困的农村人口属于高危人群。对制药企业来说,开发埃博拉疫苗和治疗手段不具商业吸引力,因此没有进行多少投资。

所有这些都随着最近的大爆发而改变。2014年9月,美国疾病控制和预防中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)预测,在最糟糕的情形中,不出4个月将由140万人被传染。媒体散布恐慌,说埃博拉可能传播到丰裕国家,这催生了不同寻常的预防措施。在美国,总统奥巴马要求国会拨款62亿美元,其中24亿美元用于降低埃博拉进入美国的风险和建立50座美国埃博拉治疗中心。

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