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Contact: Kaitlin Christenson, 202.822.0033, kchristenson@path.org.

Underscores the importance of research and development of new solutions

Washington, DC, October 21, 2009—The report released today by the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Bank demonstrates the power of immunization to improve child and maternal health in the developing world. The State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunizations, Third Edition (SOWVI) documents the substantial gains in global health and life-expectancy that have been achieved through widespread availability of lifesaving vaccines. The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC)—over 30 nonprofit organizations advocating together for accelerated development of new vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, microbicides, and devices—welcomes the report for highlighting the crucial role of vaccines in the progress that has been made to improve health around the world.

As the SOWVI report demonstrates, health technologies like vaccines are among the most effective and successful health interventions available today. Such tools have made an enormous impact on global health, allowing Americans and millions of people around the world to live longer, healthier lives, and to no longer live in fear of diseases such as polio and measles. These vaccines—hailed today as successes—were preceded by groundbreaking research and development. To continue this progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating global diseases, the US government and other global health leaders must continue to invest in the development of new health tools like vaccines, tests, and drugs.

The GHTC applauds and supports the world efforts to make current vaccines accessible in poor and remote areas around the world, but notes that continued investment in global health research for new health tools is also essential. Today we face, especially in the developing world, growing incidences of diseases for which vaccines have not been found, or for which treatments are losing their effectiveness. Solutions to address these diseases will require an even more advanced and sophisticated use of science than was available before now. Recent breakthroughs in vaccination against life-threatening diseases such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and rotavirus demonstrate that new vaccine research is capable of making a dramatic impact worldwide.

The US government has historically been a leader in global health research and development, and should continue to play a leading role in supporting new research for vaccines and other important health tools. To continue the progress that has already been made and ensure further innovation to improve health around the world, the GHTC urges the US government to:

  • Provide robust, long-term, and sustained investment in the development of health tools like vaccines.
  • Explore a variety of mechanisms that will incent the private sector—which has been a critical innovator of many of the life-saving vaccines that exist today—to continue playing a major role in the development of new vaccines.
  • Ensure that regulatory systems are in place so that, once developed, new vaccines can be quickly and safely delivered to those who need them most.

About the Global Health Technologies Coalition

The coalition seeks to engage and inform US policymakers about policies to accelerate the creation of new solutions to longstanding global health problems in low-resource settings through increased and effective use of public resources, incentives to encourage private investment, and improved regulatory systems. The coalition’s secretariat is housed at PATH. To learn more about the GHTC, contact Kaitlin Christenson at 202.822.0033 or kchristenson@path.org.

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