Vaccine child medicine pharmaceutical health Gates Foundation/Flickr

Drogas que salvan vidas para todos

PRINCETON – El brote mortal del virus del ébola en Liberia, Sierra Leona y Guinea que comenzó el año pasado puso el foco en un problema en la producción de drogas farmacéuticas. Una vez que quedó claro que la epidemia no se contendría rápidamente, varias empresas enseguida dispusieron llevar a cabo pruebas clínicas de potenciales tratamientos y vacunas, lo que indica que ya tenían la capacidad de producir candidatos plausibles.

El ébola no es una enfermedad nueva: se la identificó por primera vez en 1976. Sin embargo, antes de 2014 el brote más importante se había producido en Uganda, en 2000, cuando 425 personas se infectaron y 224 murieron. Si bien el ébola es conocido por ser contagioso y muchas veces fatal, se pensaba que sólo la población rural empobrecida de África estaba en riesgo. Para las firmas farmacéuticas, el desarrollo de una vacuna o tratamiento no era comercialmente atractivo, y por ende no garantizaba la inversión.

Todo eso cambió con el último brote. En septiembre de 2014, los Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades de Estados Unidos predijeron que, en el peor de los casos, 1,4 millón de personas podrían infectarse en el lapso de cuatro meses. Los temores alimentados por los medios de que la enfermedad podría propagarse a los países ricos llevaron a que se tomaran precauciones extraordinarias. En Estados Unidos, el presidente Barack Obama le pidió al Congreso 6.200 millones de dólares, incluidos 2.400 millones para reducir el riesgo de que la enfermedad se establezca en Estados Unidos, y abrió 50 centros de tratamiento del ébola en el país.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Television sets showing a news report on Xi Jinping's speech Anthony Wallace/Getty Images

    Empowering China’s New Miracle Workers

    China’s success in the next five years will depend largely on how well the government manages the tensions underlying its complex agenda. In particular, China’s leaders will need to balance a muscular Communist Party, setting standards and protecting the public interest, with an empowered market, driving the economy into the future.

  2. United States Supreme Court Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

    The Sovereignty that Really Matters

    The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not.

  3.  The price of Euro and US dollars Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty Images

    Resurrecting Creditor Adjustment

    When the Bretton Woods Agreement was hashed out in 1944, it was agreed that countries with current-account deficits should be able to limit temporarily purchases of goods from countries running surpluses. In the ensuing 73 years, the so-called "scarce-currency clause" has been largely forgotten; but it may be time to bring it back.

  4. Leaders of the Russian Revolution in Red Square Keystone France/Getty Images

    Trump’s Republican Collaborators

    Republican leaders have a choice: they can either continue to collaborate with President Donald Trump, thereby courting disaster, or they can renounce him, finally putting their country’s democracy ahead of loyalty to their party tribe. They are hardly the first politicians to face such a decision.

  5. Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron John Thys/Getty Images

    How Money Could Unblock the Brexit Talks

    With talks on the UK's withdrawal from the EU stalled, negotiators should shift to the temporary “transition” Prime Minister Theresa May officially requested last month. Above all, the negotiators should focus immediately on the British budget contributions that will be required to make an orderly transition possible.

  6. Ksenia Sobchak Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    Is Vladimir Putin Losing His Grip?

    In recent decades, as President Vladimir Putin has entrenched his authority, Russia has seemed to be moving backward socially and economically. But while the Kremlin knows that it must reverse this trajectory, genuine reform would be incompatible with the kleptocratic character of Putin’s regime.

  7. Right-wing parties hold conference Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

    Rage Against the Elites

    • With the advantage of hindsight, four recent books bring to bear diverse perspectives on the West’s current populist moment. 
    • Taken together, they help us to understand what that moment is and how it arrived, while reminding us that history is contingent, not inevitable

    Global Bookmark

    Distinguished thinkers review the world’s most important new books on politics, economics, and international affairs.

  8. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Bill Clark/Getty Images

    Don’t Bank on Bankruptcy for Banks

    As a part of their efforts to roll back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, congressional Republicans have approved a measure that would have courts, rather than regulators, oversee megabank bankruptcies. It is now up to the Trump administration to decide if it wants to set the stage for a repeat of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.