Our featured projects
Encouraging access to new and underused vaccines
PATH is working toward a world where the most vulnerable people are protected from devastating diseases through equitable access to lifesaving vaccines. Our Vaccine Access and Delivery program works to ensure optimal uptake of vaccines in some of the world’s most challenging settings. Dedicated teams work on a range of vaccines, including those that protect against diarrheal disease, pneumonia, and Japanese encephalitis, as well as other new and underused vaccines.
Our current projects include:
Accelerated Vaccine Introduction
In 2009, the GAVI Alliance awarded PATH a grant to convene the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction Initiative Technical Assistance Consortium (AVI TAC), in partnership with Johns Hopkins University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several academic and research institutions. Together with the GAVI Alliance Secretariat, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), AVI TAC is a partner in the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction (AVI) initiative. AVI’s goals are to introduce and sustain the use of pneumococcal conjugate and rotavirus vaccines, which protect against the leading causes of pneumonia and severe diarrhea in young children, in more than 40 countries by 2015.
AVI TAC provides support to AVI by conducting studies of vaccine safety and effectiveness and health economics to document the value of these vaccines. AVI TAC also supports the generation of demand and supply forecasts to inform public- and private-sector decision-making, and it builds political will at the global and national levels to facilitate countries’ introduction and sustained use of vaccines. AVI is now evolving to provide support to the accelerated introduction and sustained optimal use of other GAVI-supported vaccines under a broader vaccine implementation banner.
Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Study in Senegal
PATH is partnering to conduct an influenza vaccine field trial in Senegal—the largest influenza vaccine study undertaken in children in Africa to date. Made possible by funding and collaborative support from the CDC, the project’s aim is to answer questions about the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccines in tropical African settings. The study will help increase understanding of influenza disease burden in these settings, where influenza circulation is not yet well understood.
As researchers monitor the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine among vaccinated children, they are also conducting surveillance to measure rates of influenza caused by circulating strains and to determine if vaccinating children, the suspected main transmitters of influenza, reduces disease in the rest of the community. Ultimately, information generated could help public health leaders decide how to best use influenza vaccines in Senegal and in similar tropical countries. This project is supported by cooperative agreement #1U01IP000174-03 from the CDC.
Japanese Encephalitis Project
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading viral cause of disability among children in Asia. The Japanese Encephalitis Project generates data to support informed programmatic decision-making, accelerates the availability of a safe and affordable vaccine, provides technical assistance for vaccine introduction, and improves awareness of JE and its impact. Major accomplishments of the Japanese Encephalitis Project include negotiating with the JE vaccine manufacturer to set an affordable public-sector price for low-income countries, documenting disease burden through surveillance projects, conducting clinical trials on safety and immunogenicity, and providing technical assistance for vaccine introduction. Many project activities ended in November 2009, yet the Japanese Encephalitis Project continues to ensure the sustainability of the Indian government’s immunization program and is supporting efforts to secure WHO prequalification of the live, attenuated SA 14-14-2 JE vaccine.
Meningitis Vaccine Project
The Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP) is a partnership between PATH and WHO. The mission of MVP is to eliminate meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. MVP’s objectives are to:
- Develop meningococcal conjugate vaccines that are appropriate for use in Africa.
- Monitor the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines in controlled clinical trials.
- Create pathways for the licensing of vaccines.
- Assure production in sufficient volume at a price that facilitates wide use in Africa.
- Investigate innovative ways to finance the procurement of vaccines through local, country, and other global programs.
- Introduce the vaccines through mass and routine immunization in synergy with other public health programs.
Find out more about MVP on the project’s website.
Project Optimize is a five-year collaboration between WHO and PATH to identify ways in which supply chains can be optimized to meet the demands of an increasingly large and costly portfolio of vaccines. The goal of Project Optimize is to help define an ideal vaccine supply chain that can be used to develop stronger, more adaptable, and more efficient logistics systems, extending the reach of lifesaving health technologies to people around the world. Work is focused in three areas:
- Demonstrating good ideas: building an evidence base for ideas that have not previously been applied in large-scale immunization programs. Collaborative demonstration projects in Albania, Guatemala, Senegal, Tunisia, and Vietnam are answering questions about the impact that innovations can have on supply chain and logistics systems. This will help answer critical questions about how to build more adaptable and efficient logistics systems in low-income countries throughout the world.
- Encouraging ongoing innovation: establishing enduring mechanisms that identify, refine, influence, test, and introduce new ideas on an ongoing basis, creating an environment that encourages and rewards innovation.
- Facilitating collaboration: working with stakeholders to help identify solutions, test their feasibility, and build enduring logistics and supply chain systems that can handle vaccines now and in the future.
Optimize is a joint project of PATH’s Vaccine Access and Delivery and Technology Solutions global programs.
Rotavirus Vaccine Impact Project
The overwhelming majority of rotavirus deaths occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Research on the potential impact of current rotavirus vaccines is essential for prompt introduction. Between 2005 and 2009, PATH led such evaluations and found that Rotarix® (GlaxoSmithKline) and Rotateq® (Merck & Co., Inc.) demonstrated significant efficacy among high-burden, low-income populations. But efficacy was lower than that seen in high- and middle-income countries. Building off these pivotal findings, the team is now studying approaches to improve rotavirus vaccine performance and ensure the greatest impact.
Reasons for the lower efficacy of live, oral vaccines in various settings may include host factors (such as maternal antibody levels, age of vaccination, malnutrition, concomitant intestinal infections, or infestation), vaccine factors (such as vaccine dose or number of doses), or virus factors (such as lack of protection against particular strains). Studies in Africa and Asia are now underway to inform understanding of the roles of these factors and, ultimately, evolve immunization strategies to enhance immune response and efficacy.
Rotavirus Vaccine Program
PATH’s Rotavirus Vaccine Program (RVP), now in its final project close-out phase, harnessed the commitment and resources of the vaccine industry, public health organizations, donors, and governments to make rotavirus vaccines accessible to children worldwide, while also demonstrating a successful model for vaccine introduction. Its activities included measuring disease burden, determining vaccine efficacy and safety in developing countries, communicating the value of rotavirus vaccines, and generating information on health economics.
RVP is a partnership with WHO and the CDC, with funding from the GAVI Alliance. While much of RVP’s work involves conducting final project close-out activities, other activities continue under the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction Initiative.
Senegal Health System Strengthening Project
The Senegal Health System Strengthening Project provides technical support to improving performance in commodity procurement and logistics. This includes planning, forecasting, distribution, and management of health commodities and the underlying information systems that support supply chain management.