Important developments in global health last year included Dr Jim Yong Kim taking the helm at the World Bank, offering a new promise for global health governance; and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announcing a high-level panel of advisers on the post-MDG development agenda. Towards the end of the year, nine people died after becoming infected with a new coronavirus - the type of virus that caused the SARS outbreak in 2002-03.
Importantly, leading science journals published controversial papers. They described two separate laboratory experiments in which scientists in the United States and the Netherlands had introduced mutations to a lethal strain of bird flu (H5N1) that allowed it to transmit easily between mammals. Beforehand the issue had sparked a contentious debate over whether the journals should publish the studies and if so in how much detail. The full papers were eventually published in May and June in the journals Nature and Science respectively, but the debate raised important questions around biosecurity and managing the risks of dual use life sciences research.
2013 is also likely to provide several global health events to reflect on, so we asked four of our experts to comment on what they consider to be the challenges and opportunities for global health over the next 12 months.