By: Gerald T. Keusch and Carol A. Medlin


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Medical research — largely but not exclusively into tropical diseases — is increasingly recognised as critical in the fight against disease in developing countries. Most recently the World Health Organisation Commission on Macroeconomics and Health emphasised the collective benefit that could be derived by all countries from investment in knowledge for better health.

To meet this need, some advocates have suggested creating a new global institute for health research, along the lines of 'big science' projects such as CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics near Geneva, Switzerland.

But in this article, Gerald Keusch, director of the Fogarty International Centre, and Carol Medlin of the University of California suggest an alternative model. They propose a virtual research network, which consists of several of the world's leading medical research councils working in a "voluntary, independent but coordinated collaborative effort". No 'new money' would be needed, but research agencies would be expected to place a greater emphasis on global health research.

Link to Nature article

Reference: Nature 422, 563 (2003)