Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interesting perspectives from the Gates Foundation on a pandemic vaccine

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding initiatives to support the development (and feasibility) of a vaccine for an influenza pandemic. Tadataka Yamada, the executive director at the foundation, recently co-authored a commentary in Nature, stating their perspective on feasibility:

"Several recent developments make this stockpile feasible. H5N1 vaccines with
adjuvants that reduce the required dose as much as fourfold have been developed
and one has been licensed for medical use. Furthermore, the manufacturing
capacity of 500 million doses is calculated on a requirement for three strains
of flu virus for standard vaccinations; in crisis mode, three times as much
monovalent pandemic flu vaccine could be produced. Together, these
considerations could increase global vaccine production capacity to 5 billion–6
billion doses over 12 months. Moreover, adjuvant-enhanced vaccines may provide
cross-protection against strains that have undergone up to seven years of
genetic drift3. If this is true, appropriate planning, manufacture and
stockpiling of currently effective vaccines might provide the basis for an
immediate response to an H5N1 outbreak."

In detailing how the support needed for vaccines to be a feasible option, they mention the importance of surveillance :

"We must build robust mechanisms; for surveillance of an outbreak of pandemic flu
and for delivering prevention and treatment, particularly vaccines, as quickly
and broadly as possible. There must be full integration of vaccine strategies
with other approaches, and we must coordinate research strategies for dealing
with zoonotic and human influenza infections"

It's very important to keep in mind the goals of our prevention efforts are certainly to prevent a pandemic but we can also hope to stall a pandemic as well, which are global efforts may have already done. Also, the work we do in H5N1 surveillance is just the beginning for emerging infectious disease surveillance systems.

For the full commentary see: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7201/full/454162a.html
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1 comment:

birdfluman said...

Good article. Don't forget about getting business managers to prepare their businesses as well. We need to keep Bird Flu at the forefront of every business manager's mind. It won't go away so better start preparing.

Nigel Thomas
For free references and tools go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials and templates, consider Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for business preparedness and survival.