We work to bring lifesaving vaccines to the people who most need them. View the slideshow.
Affordable, effective ways to tackle pervasive illness
Some vaccines that already exist in the United States and other industrialized countries just aren't appropriate for the developing world. They are often too expensive for people in poor countries, and they may not protect against the specific strains of viruses or bacteria found there.
PATH is advancing new vaccines against several common illnesses with the goal of providing communities with widespread protection. Here’s what’s in our vaccine pipeline:
The two leading bacterial causes of diarrhea, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETC) and Shigella, account for about one billion cases of diarrhea annually. We are pursuing a wide range of vaccine approaches and related research. Our goal is to identify at least one vaccine candidate for each pathogen that we can move toward late-stage development.
We're advancing new vaccines against common illnesses.
Seasonal influenza causes up to five million cases of severe illness each year. A highly virulent pandemic strain could cause more than ten times that many deaths, mostly in the developing world. We’re pursuing new strategies for producing vaccine more quickly and in greater quantities to reach people in even the lowest-resource setting when outbreaks occur.
We are exploring several technologies, all in the early stages of development. They include live attenuated and recombinant vaccines to express virus-like particles, new vaccine ingredients that help boost immune response, and vaccines that may provide broad coverage across influenza’s numerous and ever-changing strains. We are also studying influenza in tropical Africa to provide a better picture of the disease patterns and to help public health officials make decisions on more effective use of vaccine. In addition, we are augmenting global pandemic preparedness efforts by supporting influenza vaccine production in Vietnam.
Malaria kills a child every 45 seconds, almost all of them in sub-Saharan Africa where the vast majority of the almost 800,000 deaths worldwide each year occur. Through the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, we’re exploring dozens of promising vaccine approaches and a half-dozen promising vaccine candidates to assess their potential for protecting young lives from the parasitic disease.
Our portfolio includes the world’s most clinically advanced candidate, called RTS,S. The first definitive results from a large-scale Phase 3 clinical trial in seven African countries show that RTS,S reduces the risk of malaria by half in children ages 5 months to 17 months over one year of follow-up. More results from the trial will come over the next three years. The vaccine could be recommended for use as early as 2015.
The Phase 3 trial is ongoing and will provide results on the longer-term protective effects of RTS,S as well as other data that public health and regulatory groups can use to evaluate RTS,S’s benefits and risks.
Pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases
Pneumonia is the leading killer of young children, responsible for approximately 1.6 million deaths each year, most occurring in the developing world. Existing vaccines against the pneumococcus bacterium—the most common cause of severe pneumonia—are already reaching poor countries, but they remain expensive to produce and don't target all of the types of pneumococcus causing infection in the region.
We are partnering with scientists and manufacturers to pursue a number of approaches, including common protein vaccines with the potential to provide broad protection against pneumococcal disease, conjugate vaccines that focus on specific pneumococcal strains, and a vaccine that combines both approaches. We aim to shorten the timeline for vaccine development and to support related research to make vaccines more affordable for public health systems.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
This little-known disease causes lower respiratory infections, mainly in infants and young children. It is so widespread that in the United States nearly all children become infected with RSV before their second birthdays. Almost all deaths from RSV occur in the developing world, where caring for the sick takes a heavy economic toll on families and communities. No vaccine exists for the disease.
PATH is investigating promising new vaccine technologies that could protect young children from serious RSV illness and death. One approach involves immunizing pregnant women to improve the transmission of their antibodies to their infants.
PATH is supporting the development of promising vaccine candidates against rotavirus, the leading cause of severe and fatal diarrhea among young children. Our aim is to provide more affordable and accessible options to the two existing commercial rotavirus vaccines. To that end, we are:
- Working with a vaccine manufacturer in India to develop and evaluate one candidate, 116E, now in last-stage clinical trials.
- Offering a cost-effective shared technology platform to emerging-country manufacturers to encourage development of a bovine-human reassortant vaccine (BRV) from the US National Institutes of Health. We’re supporting manufacturers in China and India to advance their BRV candidates.
- Providing guidance on clinical trials and production processes for a third vaccine, called RV3 that is being developed in Australia.
- Assessing new approaches to rotavirus vaccines that are in the very early stages of development.
- Evaluating the current commercial vaccines to determine how to optimize their performance in low-resource, high-burden settings.
Photos, from top: PATH/Amynah Janmohamed, PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.