Research is stifled by “regulation and conservatism,” conference hears

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 11 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2558
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The medical research community has failed to respond to the threat of infectious diseases, Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, has warned. Speaking in London at the scientific conference for charity Médecins Sans Frontières, Farrar said that medical research was stifled by regulation and conservatism and hampered by fragmentation.

He used the example of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, research into which has moved on very little since the first case was diagnosed in 2013. “We are now in May 2015 and we don’t understand the epidemiology, we don’t understand the animal reservoir, we don’t understand the transmission dynamic, we have not worked out how to treat individual patients or prevent secondary transmission, and we do not have a vaccine,” he said.

“We need much more innovation in the design of research. We haven’t moved human study design on in the past 20 …

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