WHO chief: Ebola vaccine was never developed ‘because it only affected poor African countries’

The Independent | November 3, 2014

By Charlie Cooper

There is still no Ebola vaccine 40 years after the disease first emerged because it previously affected only poor African nations, the head of the World Health Organisation has said.

In unusually strident comments, Dr Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO, attacked drug companies and said that the reason clinicians were “empty-handed” was because “a profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay”.

She said that long-standing WHO complaints about the lack of investment in both vaccine development and the healthcare systems of poor states had “fallen on deaf ears for decades”. But the current global Ebola panic put the arguments “out there with consequences that all the world can see, every day, on prime time TV news”.

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