Proposal for a CEWG Demonstration Project by Médecins Sans Frontières
The Open Source Fever Diagnostic Project
The World Health Organization (WHO), as part of its broader efforts to address health R&D gaps for the poor, is conducting a process whereby member states will support "health R&D demonstration projects" aimed at developing health technologies (medicines, diagnostics, medical devices, vaccines, etc.) for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries and for which identified R&D gaps remain unaddressed due to market failures.
MSF’s ‘open source fever project’ proposal is one of 24 proposals selected by WHO regional offices to be considered by a group of experts at the WHO’s Global Technical Consultative meeting in December 2013. The experts will develop a shortlist of projects to be considered at the WHO Executive Board and World Health Assembly in January and May 2014, respectively.
The aim of ‘open source fever project’ is to create a new ecosystem for financing the development of an open source, multiplex, point of care (POC) diagnostic test for the differential diagnosis of fever or sepsis. This project incorporates novel approaches to financing in order to accelerate innovation and provide more equitable access to better diagnostic tools. It has been developed based on the principles and recommendations put forward in the 2012 WHO Consultative Expert Working Group (CEWG) report and the 2008 WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (WHA 61.21).
The proposal uses ‘push’ funding to finance R&D activities upfront, ‘pull’ funding to incentivise R&D activities through the promise of financial rewards on the achievement of specific objectives and does so in a way that fully separates or “de-links” the cost of the R&D from the price of the resulting diagnostic device so that access and affordability are ensured. All funded technologies will be fully disclosed and available for use and license to third parties.