Tell world leaders: We need a global action plan for R&D to fight deadly epidemics

In today’s interconnected world, an outbreak in a remote corner of the globe can rapidly spread across nations and continents within days or weeks, causing devastating loss of lives and dollars. It is critical that countries come together to ensure we have the necessary systems and tools in place to prevent a health crisis.

In 2014, world leaders took a decisive step forward in establishing the Global Health Security Agenda—an international partnership that is helping countries better prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks. The agenda has driven important gains in strengthening the health systems of vulnerable nations to respond to outbreaks.

But unfortunately, as currently structured, it is missing a critical element.

It includes no action plan to strengthen the research and development (R&D) capacities of member nations—a vital move needed to make sure we have the vaccines, treatments, and other tools needed to stop an outbreak from becoming a deadly epidemic.

The international response to the 2018 Ebola outbreak—that has seen the deployment of thousands of experimental vaccines—has demonstrated how much more effectively we can address an outbreak when we have solutions to deploy and reaffirmed how health system strengthening and R&D must go hand in hand.

This fall, world leaders will be meeting in Bali to reaffirm and chart a new five-year course for the Global Health Security Agenda. This is an important opportunity to press leaders to revise the agenda so it includes clear commitments to strengthening R&D to combat epidemics.

Sign our petition calling on world leaders to accelerate progress on global health security by making R&D part of the Global Health Security Agenda.

Dear GHSA Member Countries and Global Leaders:

It is not a question of if, but when the next disease outbreak will occur. Being prepared requires having both strong health systems in place and the right technologies on hand to prevent an outbreak from becoming a deadly crisis.

We applaud your leadership and vision in establishing the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). With commitments from over 60 nations, GHSA has driven substantial progress in strengthening the ability of nations to detect, prevent, and respond to outbreaks. We are already seeing these gains on the ground. For example, Cameroon has decreased its disease outbreak response time from 8 weeks to just 24 hours, and the Democratic Republic of Congo promptly detected and mounted a response to the recent Ebola outbreak.

While GHSA has set in motion vital improvements in health systems, a key component needed for the world to be truly prepared to tackle health emergencies is notably missing from its framework: As structured, the GHSA action packages include no explicit commitments to strengthen the research and development (R&D) capacities of participant nations. This is necessary and critical to ensure the world is equipped with the broad range of health technologies, including vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and other tools, needed to tackle health threats, from the next infectious disease outbreak to the rise of antimicrobial resistance.

We saw with the 2014-2015 Ebola and 2015-2016 Zika epidemics, how the lack of available interventions like vaccines and diagnostics hampered response efforts. Even as we have recently seen promising new tools for Ebola and other disease threats emerge, we have also seen how challenges including limited clinical trial capacity and under-resourced regulatory systems in outbreak-prone countries have continued to stand as barriers to completing development and deployment of these products. These crises have taught us that when it comes to fighting epidemics, health system strengthening and R&D must go hand in hand.

Achieving improved health security will ultimately require new health technologies, and developing those tools will require a supportive policy environment in all nations. As the leading global forum for collaborative international action on health security, GHSA has a vital role to play in advancing these efforts.

As you establish the 2019-2024 framework for GHSA, we call on you to explicitly embed support for global health R&D in a GHSA action package by including concrete commitments that enhance countries' capacities to do the following:

  • Conduct clinical trials for tools to combat emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • Provide incentives to product developers to develop technologies for diseases and products which lack a commercial market
  • Speed products through appropriate regulatory approvals to allow their quick uptake
  • Collaborate regionally and globally on infectious disease research

With your proactive leadership, we can ensure that the world has a comprehensive plan to combat epidemics and that all nations are better prepared with the tools needed to detect, prevent, and respond to the next outbreak.

Share this petition on Twitter

We can't fight epidemics without the right tools. Tell world leaders, we need a global action plan for R&D to combat deadly diseases. Add your signature → bit.ly/GHSA4Innovation #healthsecurity [Click to Tweet]

When it comes to fighting epidemics, health system strengthening and R&D must go hand in hand. Tell world leaders to make R&D a part of the #GlobalHealth Security Agenda→ bit.ly/GHSA4Innovation [Click to Tweet]

To be prepared to #outsmartepidemics, we need #vaccines, treatments, & other tools. But right now the #GlobalHealth Security Agenda includes no action plan to strengthen the R&D capacities of participant nations. With your help, we can change that: bit.ly/GHSA4Innovation [Click to Tweet]

This fall, world leaders will meet to reaffirm and chart a new five-year course for the #GlobalHealth Security Agenda. Join us in urging them fix a missing element and make R&D a part of this framework→ bit.ly/GHSA4Innovation [Click to Tweet]

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  • ACTION (United States)
  • Aeras (United States)
  • AfNHi (South Africa)
  • AfroCAB (South Africa)
  • American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (United States)
  • Asociacion Gestion Salud Poblacion (Peru)
  • Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (Australia)
  • AVAC (United States)
  • Coalition for Health Research and Development [CHReaD] (Kenya)
  • College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University (Australia)
  • Community and Family Aid Foundation (Ghana)
  • CORE group (United States)
  • Council on Health Research and Development (Switzerland)
  • DSW [Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung] (Germany)
  • E-CO (United Kingdom)
  • EPIMOD [Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases Modeling] (France)
  • Euvadis (Netherlands)
  • FHI360 (United States)
  • FIND (Switzerland)
  • Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (United States)
  • Global Health Council (United States)
  • Global Health Innovative Technology Fund [GHIT Fund] (Japan)
  • Health Innovation care (Germany)
  • HIV Medicine Association (United States)
  • Human Vaccines Project (United States)
  • The Hunger Project (United States)
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America (United States)
  • International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (United States)
  • International Cancer Expert Corps (United States)
  • International Health Central American Institute (Costa Rica)
  • International Partnership for Microbicides (United States)
  • KANCO (Kenya)
  • Kapkatet Medical Training Centre (Kenya)
  • Kenya Treatment Access Movement [KETAM] (Kenya)
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture (Switzerland)
  • Meropa Communications (South Africa)
  • National Science and Technology Forum (South Africa)
  • Optel Group (Canada)
  • PATH (United States)
  • Parviflora Research Organisation (India)
  • PhRMA (United States)
  • Policy Cures (Australia)
  • Policy Cures Research (Australia)
  • Program in Public Health, University of California, Irvine (United States)
  • Research!America (United States)
  • Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies (United States)
  • RESULTS Canada (Canada)
  • Sabin Vaccine Institute (United States)
  • South African Health Technologies Advocacy Coalition (South Africa)
  • Southern African HIV Clinicians Society (South Africa)
  • TB Alliance (United States)
  • Treatment Action Group (United States)
  • University of Dundee (United Kingdom)
  • Women Deliver (Mali)
  • Youth Northern Regions Somaliland Organization (Somalia)


  • Salwa Ahmad (United States)
  • Ashley Arabasadi, Chair, Global Health Security Agenda Consortium (United States)
  • Dr. Roomi Aziz, Punjab Public Health Agency (Pakistan)
  • Hemant Bankhede (India)
  • Dr. William Barson, MD, Nationwide Childrens Hospital (United States)
  • Jim Bearden, Software Developer, HemeVison (United States)
  • Amuam Andrew Beng, Parasitologist, Research Foundation in Tropical Diseases and Environment [REFOTDE], Buea (Cameroon)
  • Michael Brady, Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital (United States)
  • Tae Kyung Byhun, Acting Head of PR and Communications, International Vaccine Institute (South Korea)
  • Dr. Sara Carvalho (Portugal)
  • Elizabeth Cha, Summer Associate, Health Security Partners (United States)
  • Ben Childers, Director of Account Services, Engaging Networks (United States)
  • Mark Clark, BIApharma LLP (United Kingdom)
  • Robert Colgrove, Harvard Medical School (United States)
  • Guy Delbaen (Belgium)
  • Daniele Dionisio, Health Policy Analyst, PEAH (Italy)
  • Matthew Doherty (Switzerland)
  • Susan Dorman, Professor of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (United States)
  • Dimitri Drekonja, MD, MS, Infectious Diseases Society of America (United States)
  • David Dror (Switzerland)
  • Gwenn Fairall (United States)
  • Alan Fairlamb, Professor, University of Dundee (United Kingdom)
  • Andrea Gardellin (Italy)
  • Dr. Rahul Garg, Kasturba Medical College Manipal (India)
  • Dr. Ann Ginsberg, Chief Medical Officer, Aeras (United States)
  • Karen Goraleski, Executive Director, America Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (United States)
  • Nick Gibins (Canada)
  • Dr. Christopher Haggarty-Weir, The Roslin Institute (United Kingdom)
  • Dr. Ghaiath Hussein, University of Birmingham (Saudi Arabia)
  • Dr. Ivana Haluskova, consultant R&D partnership (France)
  • Dr. Ebrahim Hoosain, Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa)
  • Dr. Anne Kasmar, MD, MSc (United States)
  • Dr. Peter Kilmarx (United States)
  • Dr. Safaa Kishk, Suez Canal University (Egypt)
  • James Kiumbe, Trustee, Ripples International (Kenya)
  • Cassie Kobrin, Advocacy & Policy Associate, PATH (United States)
  • Joseph Kwashie, Community and Family Aid Foundation (Ghana)
  • Arthur Lagos, Independent Consultant (Philippines)
  • Peter Lambert, Monash University (Australia)
  • Dr. Catherine Le, MD, University of California Los Angeles [UCLA] (United States)
  • Dr. Vicente Lieberknecht (Brazil)
  • Philisiwe Luthuli (South Africa)
  • Zulfiqar Ali Mahesar, Global Public Health Specialists, World Health Organization (Pakistan)
  • Dorine Manhertz (France)
  • Keith Martin, Executive Director, Consortium of Universities for Global Health (United States)
  • Alessandra Mazzeo, Professor, Università degli Studi del Molise (Italy)
  • Beth Medema (United States)
  • Ludmila Lucia Mihailescu, pensioner, former medical inspector, prison administration (Romania)
  • Thomas Moore, MD, FACP, FIDSA, ID Consultants of Kansas (United States)
  • Dr. Mary Moran, Executive Director, Policy Cures Research (Australia)
  • Ronald Mugulwa, Laboratory Technologist, ATCB SOLUTIONS (U) LTD. (Uganda)
  • Rahab Mwaniki, Public Health Specialist, KANCO (Kenya)
  • Burnie Nawn, JBN Consulting (South Africa)
  • Imali Ngusale, Advocacy and EU Liasion Officer, DSW (Kenya)
  • Jamie Bay Nishi, Director, Global Health Technologies Coalition (United States)
  • Shefin Nishtar, Junior research fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (India)
  • Oladele Ogunseitan, Professor, University of California, Irvine (United States)
  • Stephen Ollis (United States)
  • Mathews Onyango (Kenya)
  • Steve Opallo, Siaya County (Kenya)
  • Hannah Oros (United States)
  • Dr. Madhukar Pai, Global Health Programs, McGill University (Canada)
  • Ashley Pajor, Program Associate, PATH (United States)
  • Cathy Pak (United States)
  • Dr. Gloria Palma, Professor, Department of Microbiology, Universidad del Valle (Colombia)
  • Valérian Pasche (Switzerland)
  • Nira Pollock, Associate Medical Director, Boston Children's Hospital (United States)
  • Dr. Ana Rabello, Full Researcher, Fiocruz (Brazil)
  • Raphael Rahmani, QEDDI (Australia)
  • Octavio Ramilo, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH (United States)
  • Dr. David Reddy, CEO, Medicines for Malaria Venture (Switzerland)
  • Glenn Rockman (United States)
  • Rangarajan Sampath, Chief Scientific Officer, FIND (Switzerland)
  • Melvin Sanicas, MD MSc FRSPH (Singapore)
  • Prof. Osman Sankoh, DSc, Statistician General, Statistics Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone)
  • Eloan Dos Santos Pinheiro, chemist [retired] (Brazil)
  • Louis Schofield, Distinguished Professor, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (Australia)
  • Dr. Harry van Schooten, Physician (Netherlands)
  • Dr. Lee Schroeder, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan (United States)
  • Rishi Sharma, Researcher, University of Rochester (United States)
  • Dr. Jacqueline E. Shea, CEO, Aeras (United States)
  • Dr. Mark Sherry, Royal College of General Practitioners (United Kingdom)
  • Richard Seifman (United States)
  • Upinder Singh, Professor, Stanford University (United States)
  • Dawd Siraj, Professor, University of Wisconsin Global Health (United States)
  • BT Slingsby, MD, PhD, MPH, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund [GHIT Fund] (Japan)
  • Jessica Snowden, Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician (United States)
  • Lance Stewart, Sr. Director of Strategy, Institute for Protein Design (United States)
  • Aliou Sylla, Directeur des Réseaux, Coalition Plus (Senegal)
  • Diaa Tahoun, Senior Technical Officer for his Excellency the Minister of Health and Population (Egypt)
  • Wendy Taylor, Rockefeller Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation (United States)
  • Kanchan Thapa, Central Department of Population Studies (Nepal)
  • Tristan Timbrook, Antimicrobial Stewardship Pharmacist, University of Utah (United States)
  • Daniel Tjen, Major General (ret), MD, PPAD (Indonesia)
  • Dr. Cristina Tomatis Souverbielle (Peru)
  • Ashleh Tseng, Master of Public Health in Epidemiology Candidate, Columbia University (United States)
  • Dr. David R. Tumuhairwe, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (Swaziland)
  • Dr. Cesar Ugarte-Gil, Instituto de Medicina Alexander con Humboldt - Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru)
  • Laura Viviani, Expert in Vaccines Alternative Methods to animal testing (Italy)
  • Rose Wandia, Global Solutions Intel (Kenya)
  • Judith Wasserheit, Chair, Department of Global Health, University of Washington (United States)
  • Judith Whitworth, Professor (Australia)