Vaccine Development Global Program

Influenza

Vaccine solutions to expand protection against a global threat

School girl in Vietnam.

Photo: Nguyen Ba Quang.

Public health leaders agree that the best way to control the spread of influenza is through vaccines. Each year, seasonal influenza causes 250,000 to 500,000 deaths and up to 5 million cases of severe illness. In today’s interconnected world, the virus has the potential to cause millions of deaths, mostly in the developing world, if a highly virulent pandemic strain were to emerge. The development of new vaccines, increased vaccine production, and regionally appropriate strategies for vaccine use are essential to being able to meet the global population’s needs during seasonal and pandemic outbreaks.

PATH is doing its part to respond to these needs by implementing multiple strategies to expand influenza vaccine solutions that will be optimal for the developing world. We are accelerating the development of new influenza vaccines that can be accessible and affordable for people in low-resource countries in influenza outbreaks and helping emerging-country manufacturers produce influenza vaccines for pandemic preparedness.

Innovation in influenza vaccine development

Although influenza vaccination is routine in much of the industrialized world, barriers to affordability and availability often make current influenza vaccines inaccessible in the developing world. Alternative vaccine strategies are needed that can break down these barriers and bring effective protection to underserved populations. To this end, PATH is advancing the development of promising new influenza vaccines that can be accessible, affordable, and available to people in low-resource countries during influenza outbreaks.

Specifically, we are accelerating the development of new live attenuated influenza vaccines that have the potential to be affordable, highly effective, and viable options for children in these settings. We are also supporting early-stage research on innovative influenza vaccines capable of providing broad coverage across influenza strains. Furthermore, we are conducting clinical studies in low-resource countries designed to inform future influenza vaccine development efforts and public health decisions on influenza vaccine use in the developing world.

Support for emerging-country vaccine manufacturers

With vaccine development resources mostly concentrated in the industrialized world, low-income countries face great challenges in protecting their populations in a pandemic (or widespread outbreak). They are often unable to afford or access critical vaccines that can help them prevent the spread of disease within their own communities, as well as to the rest of the world. With a gap of several billion courses between today’s influenza vaccine production capacity and what is needed to protect the global population in a pandemic, global health leaders recognize that the participation of many vaccine suppliers worldwide is vital to meeting pandemic demand. Emerging-country vaccine manufacturers will play an important role to this end and are expanding their efforts to produce high-quality, lifesaving influenza vaccines at lower cost.

Vietnam is one such country with the potential to supply safe and effective influenza vaccines that can be affordable and accessible for the global population in a future pandemic. With full funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services, PATH is helping to enhance sustainable influenza vaccine production in Vietnam. Ultimately, the aim is to advance locally produced influenza vaccine candidates through clinical evaluation. This project is an important step toward increasing local and regional vaccine supplies and improving real-time response in an influenza pandemic.

Additional resources

Comments are closed.