Discovering new vaccine approaches
Vaccines could save millions of lives during an influenza pandemic. But in a pandemic, we will need to rapidly and efficiently produce vaccines that are tailored to an unpredictable virus—difficult even in countries with ample resources. PATH is working on cutting-edge technologies for influenza vaccines, focusing on novel technologies that could be used in the developing world.
Right now, most influenza vaccines are produced in hen eggs, yielding at best only a few doses of vaccine per egg. It’s an impractical technique for a pandemic that requires mass vaccination ahead of a quick-moving virus. As a first step to getting around those constraints, we surveyed new vaccines that rely on cells, eggs, or recombinant technologies using proteins and virus-like particles.
After identifying those with the most promise and assessing advantages and disadvantages, we will select four to six candidates for further development. Over the next few years, we will build partnerships and work with manufacturers to ensure these new vaccines address the unique needs of developing countries. Our goal is to develop vaccines that can be manufactured easily, quickly, and affordably—within the developing world. We’re making use of market forces already in motion, looking first at solutions meant for well-resourced countries, and providing a compelling argument and the necessary tools to make those solutions effective for people everywhere.
World Health Organization
Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.