Immunization Strategies for the Developing World

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The second morning session of Day One at the World Vaccine Congress USA 2013 started with Dr John Boslego, Global Program Leader, Vaccine Development at PATH, delivering a talk entitled ‘Driving the development of much needed vaccines for the developing world'. He spoke about the work of PATH, and introduced the 3 pillars of PATH – namely 1) Advancing technologies, 2) Strengthening systems, 3) Encouraging healthy behaviours. He showed a map of deaths from infections and parasitic diseases and compared this to a map of R&D – the global distribution of R&D seemed to be opposite to the distribution of infectious disease. He spoke about PATH's vaccine development portfolio, the role of product-development portfolios, and how PATH bring technology and resources to collaboration. He gave a remarkable case study of the introduction of meningitis group A conjugate vaccine MenAfriVac into the meningitis belt. He spoke about PATH's work meeting with public health authorities in Africa, approaching multinational vaccine companies, working with the Serum Institute of India, through to the vaccine licensure and introduction highlights of MenAfriVac. Since the introduction of this remarkable and successful intervention, there has not been one case of men A in a vaccinee in the men A in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Dr Thomas P. Monath, Adjunct Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, talked about ‘New vaccines needed for pathogens infecting animals and humans: One Health'. He spoke about the impact of zoonotic diseases, highlighting the fact that they account for 75% of emerging diseases. Dr Monath explained that about 1/3 to ½ public health emergencies are zoonoses, and used SARS, Ebola and Nipah viruses as diseases that all have zoonotic cycles. He also spoke about the new coronavirus – H7N9. Much of the rest of his presentation focussed on how to prevent disease in both animals and humans, and Dr Monath highlighted some key approaches to achieving this. He gave examples of vaccinating domesticated animals to prevent disease in humans and domestic animals, and vaccinating wild animals to prevent disease in humans and domestic animals. It seems that co-ordination across the human and animal health sectors in biopharma is essential.

George Adams, Vaccine Program Manager, Asia India Japan Market Manager at EMD Millipore, gave a presentation on ‘Providing global access to vaccines in a key effort'. He highlighted that this was the decade of vaccines, and that in 2012 there were 1700 vaccines in development and 700 viral vaccines in development. He spoke about the work of Merck KGaA and how EMD Millipore fits in, and also about employing EMD Millipore technology in a collaborative fashion.

Following on from this, and concluding the morning session, Lois Privor Dumm, Director, Alliances & Information at IVAC, spoke about ‘Disease prevention in low and middle income countries: The role of vaccines'. She spoke about Millenium Development Goals and the need to prevent 5.6 million childhood deaths. She spoke about the impact of Prevnar on admissions of children under 5 for invasive pneumococcal disease in Kilifi, Kenya, along with the introduction of the pentavalent vaccine on invasive Hib, again in Kilifi. She spoke about the work with GAVI to make sure vaccines reach the places they need to reach, and also the benefits of vaccines which include increased lifetime productivity, education, and positive impacts on families. She spoke about the challenges and opportunities in vaccination, including cold chain strategies – highlighting that equipment is often neglected in the plan. Accountability is also often overlooked, but it is a must-have that countries need to take accountability. There is also a need to build public confidence and trust, and we can't forget to communicate the impact and benefits of vaccines. If industry is willing to supply, donors and countries willing to pay, and countries willing and able to introduce vaccines, then diseases can be prevented and lives can be saved.

Are you at the conference? Do you have any comments about the morning's Immunization Strategies presentations? You can leave a comment in the box below, on Twitter with the hashtag #wvcusa, or on our LinkedIn group.

>>Read more>> Day One – Opening Plenary Session – Immunization Strategies for the Developing World

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