In part, the lack of research in "non-profitable" infectious diseases occurring in underprivileged countries has left threats like Ebola largely unaddressed. In addition, inequalities within the system of international scientific collaboration have hindered African researchers from leading the way against diseases ravaging their continent.
Many of my friends nodded politely a few weeks back when I told them that I had been elected to the Institute of Medicine. They knew from the tone of my voice that this election was a huge honor for me. But, despite my enthusiasm, the announcement was generally met by a few moments of awkward silence. Some of my friends admitted that they had no idea what the IOM actually does.
A letter published online in the Lancet on Oct. 10, by a distinguished group of scientists, ethicists and physicians from all over the world, makes an urgent plea for embarking on research for experimental Ebola treatments that would not randomize patients to a control arm that provides only conventional care or conventional care along with a placebo.