Global vaccine fund could prevent deadly disease outbreak

New York, Aug 4 (IANS) Creation of a $2 billion global vaccine-development fund could prevent the future outbreak of Ebola and such other deadly diseases, an international team of physicians has proposed.

“The fundamental challenges facing the discovery and development of new vaccines are growing in significance and can no longer be ignored,” said one of the study authors Jeremy Farrar, director of the Britain-based Wellcome Trust.

“And the economic reality today is that strategic support from government and other investors is needed to address the most difficult infectious disease problems,” Adel Mahmoud, professor at Princeton University in the US, noted.

In the case of Ebola, vaccine candidates were available well before the time of the outbreak, but there were no funds to test them. Had one been tested, public health workers could have vaccinated people from the start, saving thousands of lives, the researchers said.

The creation of a $2 billion global vaccine-development fund – supported by governments, foundations and pharmaceutical companies – would carry promising vaccines through development to deployment, they proposed

With initial support, the global vaccine fund could help make vaccines available for emergency use, according to the authors.

They said that cost is one of the biggest obstacles to vaccine development.

Given the substantial capital needed at the onset, few companies are willing to buy in.

“So many vaccine ideas have been shelved due to a lack of funding,” Mahmoud said.

“In the case of Ebola, there have been numerous vaccine discoveries over the past few decades, and yet no vaccines were deployed until very recently,” Mahmoud noted.

But a global vaccine-development fund could help shoulder the financial burden, said the article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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