Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • High-tech network needed to track disease threats


Researchers at the US Department of Defense (DoD) say a global network of high-tech laboratories is needed to monitor the spread of infectious diseases.

They say that when international donor agencies met in January and pledged US$1.9 billion to fight bird flu, they created an "unprecedented opportunity" to boost epidemic preparedness in developing countries (see Bird flu fight gets US$1.9 billion boost).

Writing in Nature, Jean-Paul Chretien and colleagues at DoD research centres argue that some of this money should be spent building facilities where they are most needed.

They suggest that the network should follow the example set by the US military's overseas laboratories, such as the naval research units in Egypt and Indonesia that are playing an important role monitoring bird flu.

But they point out that such units have sometimes faced local distrust or have had their funding cut.

International funding and the backing of the World Health Organization would therefore be essential for the proposed network, they say.

Link to full article in Nature

Read more about bird flu in SciDev.Net's news focus, Bird flu: the facts

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.