Self-Centric and Altruistic Unmet Needs for Ebola: Barriers to International Preparedness

Linda H M Van de Burgwal, Leslie A Reperant, Albert D M E Osterhaus, Sorana C Iancu, Esther S Pronker, H.J.H.M. Claassen

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    OBJECTIVE: Barriers to international Ebola preparedness may be elucidated by identifying heterogeneities in arguments to invest in countermeasures during "peace time."

    METHODS: For each patent family (related patent documents that differed only by limited alterations to the same invention) concerning Ebola and published until the end of 2014 the oldest patent document was analyzed. Grounded theory coding identified 5 unmet needs for (1) vaccines and therapies, (2) control of outbreaks in endemic areas, (3) detection and control of outbreaks in nonendemic areas, (4) better understanding of filoviruses, and (5) protection against bioterrorism. Odds ratios for unmet needs by geographic regions and institution types were compared by using Pearson's chi-square test.

    RESULTS: Statistically significant heterogeneities in unmet need profiles were found. US applicants combined self-centric and altruistic arguments, focusing on medical unmet needs and bioterrorism protection. Russian and Asian applicants emphasized self-centric motives, specifically, detection and control of nonendemic outbreaks. A clear, statistically significant mismatch between industry and academia was found: whereas industrial applicants focused on bioterrorism and neglected detection and control of nonendemic outbreaks, academic applicants did the opposite.

    CONCLUSIONS: This research identified heterogeneities in articulated needs between geographic regions and stakeholder types. Structural articulation of unmet needs may form the basis for attuning stakeholder engagement strategies while progression across the demand-driven value chain might necessitate international concordance. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:644-648).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)644-8
    Number of pages5
    JournalDisaster medicine and public health preparedness
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016


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