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Contact: Eileen Quinn, 202.631.9294, equinn@path.org; Sally Ethelston, 240.395.2705, sethelston@malariavaccine.org

February 9, 2007—PATH, a nonprofit global health organization, applauds Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Norway for their leadership in supporting innovative approaches to financing global access to life-saving vaccines. The governments announced today that they will financially support advance market commitments (AMCs) to purchase pneumococcal vaccines for developing countries to prevent the leading cause of childhood deaths worldwide.

Pneumonia is an infectious disease and the leading cause of death in children under five in the developing world. Pneumococcus, the bacterium that is one of the most common causes of pneumonia, kills about one million children under age five each year. 

“Advance market commitments will help bring life-saving vaccines where they are needed most, faster than ever before, and are a smart investment in our future,” commented PATH President Christopher J. Elias, MD, MPH. “With this pilot, we can act now to save lives from pneumonia, and demonstrate how future AMCs can be harnessed to fight malaria and other devastating diseases.”

PATH is working on numerous vaccines for the developing world, and is home to the Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the Meningitis Vaccine Program, and Rotavirus Vaccine Program, as well as efforts to develop a new pneumococcal vaccine and introduce HPV vaccines into the developing world. We are partnering with scientists, manufacturers, and public health officials from initial discovery through introduction to shorten the timeline fornew and existing vaccines to serve the countries in greatest need.

“Of the more than one million people who die from malaria each year, most are sub-Saharan African children,” noted Christian Loucq, interim director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. “We look forward to the success of this bold, new initiative and to its expansion to other interventions, including a malaria vaccine for these young children.”

By creating incentives for companies to invest in vaccines for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries, AMCs can help create more predictable markets and accelerate research and development. The governments making AMCs are kindling hope for greater access to vaccines that can save children’s lives.