On 17-18 November 2016 WHO held an informal consultation to review its draft methodology for prioritizing diseases under its Research and Development Blueprint. The meeting brought together experts in human and animal health, epidemiology, applied mathematics and safety as well as relevant researchers and clinicians.


The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of R&D activities during epidemics. Its aim is to fast-track the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines that can be used to save lives and avert large scale crisis.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the impetus:

When the Ebola outbreak in West Africa erupted in the spring of 2014, the medical community was ill-prepared to cope. There were no vaccines, few diagnostics, no drugs for treatment, and few medical teams and trained responders. With no public education in place, fear raced ahead of the virus.

The R&D Blueprint is intended to focus on severe emerging diseases with potential to generate a public health emergency, and for which no, or insufficient, preventative and curative solutions exist. The methodology under review identifies those diseases which most readily meet these characteristics.

The updated 2017 list of priority diseases include: