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Urgent work needed to fund vaccine trials

Friday June 10th, 2011

A British paediatrician is leading calls for increased funding to develop 20 vaccines over the next ten years – and says developing nations must contribute.

Writing in The Lancet, Professor Richard Moxon, from the University of Oxford and John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England, and colleagues have identified four key elements that need to be prioritised to halt vaccine preventable diseases.

The authors, who contributed to a series of features about vaccines for the medical journal, said there was a need for intensive research and development of phase 3 trials for such diseases as TB, Aids and malaria.

“We need to find the requisite funds for the research and development of about 20 improved or novel vaccines in the next decade and beyond,” they write.

“Several tropical diseases are inexcusably neglected, including leprosy, trachoma, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, and common helminthic infections such as hookworm.

“We must also consider vaccines beyond classic infections, such as insulin-dependent diabetes, cancers, and degenerative diseases."

The authors also call on developing countries to shoulder more responsibility when it comes to financing vaccination programmes.

“Most developing countries accord too low a priority to health in their budgets,” they claim.

“They must be persuaded to take more of the burden themselves on behalf of their poorer citizens."

Consistency and strong leadership is another key to the success of vaccination programmes, they say.

Although Unicef and the GAVI Alliance have a distinguished track record in advocacy, longer-term strategies are required.

“Any successful movement in global health needs a defining idea around which to mobilise,” write the authors.

A more concerted effort is also needed to gain the trust and confidence of the public, decision-makers and health professionals about the benefits of vaccines.

“If trust and confidence in vaccines is not secure, our efforts to advocate increased resources to make possible the necessary research, development, and supporting clinical investigation will be a bridge too far,” they say.

The Lancet series has been published to coincide with the GAVI Alliance pledging conference, which takes place on Monday, June 13, 2011, in London.

Tags: Child Health | Flu & Viruses | UK News | World Health

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