Category Archives: vaccines

A Part of Something Bigger: Reflection from the Sabin Symposium

 

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Jessica Yoo*, an END7 Student Advisory Board Member from the University of Virginia, reflects on her experience attending the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s 20th Anniversary Scientific Symposium. 

Starstruck. As a 21-year old college student, I had never in my life been surrounded by so many inspiring visionaries and giants in public health. A few weekends ago, I traveled from the University of Virginia to Washington, DC to attend the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s 20th Anniversary Scientific Symposium.  There, in the oaken, soft-lit belly of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), I got an insider’s peek at what some of the most brilliant minds of global health do on a regular basis.

Listening to speeches from a star-studded cast of representatives from the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the GAVI Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Harvard School of Public Health, I received a crash course on the history of vaccinology, learned about the challenges of developing a broad-spectrum antibody for influenza A, and rediscovered the complexity of the factors underpinning a successful health initiative.

The broad palate of ideas presented— ranging from economic analyses to new advances in cutting-edge molecular biotechnology— reminded me that the public health challenges we face today require an interdisciplinary approach that integrates all fields of study. Observing doctors, writers, policymakers, MPH-holders, researchers, advocates, scientists, businessmen, photographers and professors interact during the coffee break only reinforced this impression.

A ringing noise announced the end of the coffee break and I followed the steady scuffle of heels and dress shoes back into the conference room, where a discussion panel comprised of representatives from PAHO, UNICEF, Merck Vaccines, Biofarma, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awaited. Dr. Ciro de Quadros, a legendary figure that later received the Public Health Heroes of the Americas award for his work with eradicating smallpox and polio in the Americas, led the panel discussion on ways to collaboratively advance the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). It was clear that this type of cooperation and teamwork between participating nonprofits, governmental organizations and private sector companies is necessary for effective, holistic and sustainable changes to occur in the global health arena.

To signal the drawing end of the symposium, a message from Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), reiterated the potential of vaccines as a powerful tool against diseases and celebrated the great distances already traversed in immunization worldwide. Reflecting back upon Sabin’s 20-year journey, as well as the colorful history of vaccinology and public health overall, I was able to connect my efforts to bring the END7 to the University of Virginia’s campus to the larger effort to improve health worldwide.

In other words, one of the most valuable insights I gained from the symposium was the sense that I was part of something bigger— something noble and grand. Through my involvement with END7, I had also inadvertently joined humanity’s relentless race against the affliction and senseless suffering caused by diseases worldwide. Thus, we may not have the full answer to the question posed by Dr. Peter Hotez at the beginning of the symposium, when he asked what the next twenty years will look like for vaccine development and global health worldwide. But looking back on the significant milestones and lessons accumulated over the past two decades, I too am confident that “the future of immunization looks bright.”

*Jessica joined the END7 Student Advisory Board in January, and has been working with other passionate students this semester to found an END7 Coalition at the University of Virginia. 

Innovation to Fund Global Health

Last Friday, The Hill’s Congress Blog highlighted the innovative ways governments, NGO’s and the private sector are using to aid for global health. Programs like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are not only ensuring that health interventions are getting to the people that need them most, they are helping to promote market growth and drive down prices.

Here’s an excerpt on public-private partnerships from the blog:

“Millions of lives are saved today in developing countries because of bold, innovative financing arrangements over last 10 years. These financing mechanisms are good examples of private sector partnership with public sector for common good.

These financing initiatives have pooled large public sector funding with private sector resources, thus allowing tax payers funds to have much larger impact than would otherwise be possible. Some of the examples are given below.”

USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Program is one such collaboration. In a press statement released last fall, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau, states:

“To date, USAID’s NTD program is the largest public-private partnership collaboration in our 50 year history. Over the past six years, USAID has leveraged over $3 billion in donated medicines reflecting one of the most cost effective public health programs. Because of this support, we are beginning to document control and elimination of these diseases in our focus countries and we are on track to meet the 2020 goals.”

To read more about NTDs in national and international public policy, visit the policy section at www.globalnetwork.org.

You can also read about how Sabin in helping countries create sustainable access to immunization financing here.

 

 

Tell Members of the G8 to Prioritize Disease Prevention!

For the past week, the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases have been working with a group of organizations to raise awareness of specific issues – such as global health, nutrition, the environment and corruption – in advance of the G8.

Sabin Executive Vice President, Dr. Ciro de Quadros and Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, both contributed articles to the Huffington Post as a part of this effort, urging G8 member countries to prioritize prevention of diseases impacting those living in poverty around the world.

You can read the articles by clicking the links below.

Four Preventable Diseases G8 Leaders Should Keep in Mind by Dr. Ciro de Quadros

Elephantiasis, Snail Fever, Roundworm, More: Eliminating 7 Neglected Diseases that Affect World’s Poorest by 2020 by Dr. Neeraj Mistry

We hope you’ll continue to help us spread the word and work to encourage members of the G8 to focus on preventing diseases of poverty by sharing these articles via email, social media and word of mouth.

Even better, you can now record your own video message to G8 leaders via this link on the Huffington Post.  So get out your webcam and share 10 seconds of your time with our world leaders!

A short history of leishmania vaccines

By: Charles Ebikeme

In February of this year we saw the launch of the first human trial for a new vaccine for visceral leishmaniasis (leishmaniasis is one of the neglected tropical diseases, and it has been blogged about it in the past here on End the Neglect).

Photo credit: CDC

The new trial was launched by the InfectiousDiseaseResearchInstitute (IDRI) in Seattle, Washington with the plan to hold a further Phase 1 trial in India. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the Phase 1 clinical trials, as part of the recently announced worldwide partnership with the WHO and 13 pharmaceutical companies to control or eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases.

This new vaccine development can be added to a fast-expanding list of so-called anti-povertyvaccines; such as the famed RTS,S malariavaccine that last year proved to be effective (albeit not to levels some would deem completely effective), and vaccines in development for rabies, hookworm, schistosomiasis and dengue. Continue reading