of infectious diseases
The agents of infectious disease may be visible only
under a microscope, but their effects - 17 million deaths every
year around the world - are startlingly apparent.
diseases cause massive suffering and remain stubbornly difficult
to treat, even after decades of research. Malaria, for example,
currently kills 2.7 million people every year world-wide and causes
severe illness in another 30 million, while HIV has now infected
over 47 million people world-wide, including some 5 million children.
Although developed countries have better access to drugs and vaccines,
no-one is exempt. Bacteria, viruses and parasites are all adept
at developing resistance to the most sophisticated modern treatments
and, even in developed countries, diseases such as tuberculosis
are re-emerging after decades of decline.
The livestock that form the core of the food chain can also be severely
affected by outbreaks of highly infectious diseases, whose cost
to the EU - in terms of eradication, trade restriction and market
losses - amounts to millions of euros every year.
This key action will bring scientists from all relevant disciplines
together to develop new and better treatments, new vaccines and
other prevention strategies for the most important infectious diseases.