Thursday, 14 January 2016

How to address the Vaccines of Poverty?

The initial research of Ebola vaccine was published in 2003, where it waited more than a decade for a pharmaceutical company to take notice and invest in licensing and development. Only after the Ebola outbreak of 2014 did the US government stepped in and contributed more than $70M to develop the vaccine. But unfortunately by the time it was ready, the outbreak was over!

Now the question that comes into play is what led to such a situation?

"The business model is broken. The business model says an academic or a research institute develops the technology, you publish the paper, and you wait to license it to a major vaccine manufacturer. But who’s going to do that for a neglected tropical disease where there is no market?," Sabin President Dr. Peter Hotez said in remarks at last week’s Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

Pharmaceutical companies routinely donate existing drugs that can be repurposed to treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). But to tackle the immense challenged posed by about 17 NTDs, affecting about a billion people, new vaccines are required.

A pharmaceutical company is like a normal business. Without a market that will pay for its products, new products won’t be made. One of the effective solution to such a problem is to develop the products in the not-profit sector, through organisations known as product development partnerships or PDPs.

However as Ebola demonstrated, technology is only half the battle. Development of drugs and vaccines also require significant financial investments. This can be taken up by the set of innovative developing countries like India, Brazil, China who can invest in developing such vaccines as a majority of the affected people are from these major developing economies.

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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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