Vaccine development: thinking out of the cold box

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Immunisation is widely accepted to be one of the great public health successes of recent decades, contributing to a substantial fall in child mortality around the world. Yet, each year, 22 million children fail to get fully vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to deadly diseases.

The consequences of this vaccination failure are costly, both in terms of young lives lost unnecessarily and in terms of expensive emergency public health interventions needed to respond to outbreaks of communicable disease – interventions that cost millions of euros.

One significant factor behind this failure is the vaccines themselves and their lack of suitability for the settings with the weakest health systems. For the past 30 years, the number one rule has been that all vaccines need to be kept between 2 and 8C right up to the point of delivery, a system known as the ’cold chain’. In countries with unreliable electricity supplies, poor transport links, remote communities and high temperatures, the logistical challenges are obvious and too often go unmet.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

Health Care