Additional, less expensive vaccines are ultimately needed to protect children in low-income countries.
We’re looking for a new vaccine to help the children who need it most
Vaccines already exist for some types of pneumococcal disease, but they do not work for every type of the disease or for everyone who needs protection. PATH is looking for a pneumococcal vaccine that will protect children the world over against this deadly infection.
Making it possible
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or “pneumococcus,” causes pneumonia and infections of the brain and blood—and the deaths of more than 800,000 children under age five each year.
Vaccines exist that can protect children now, and they should be used; however, they only protect against certain types of the bacterium and many countries in the developing world can’t afford them without assistance. Additional, less expensive vaccines are ultimately needed to protect children in low-income countries, where most pneumococcus deaths occur.
One approach that holds particular promise is the development of “common protein” vaccines. Certain proteins are common to all pneumococcus types. A vaccine containing these proteins could provide broad protection.
We're working to identify potential new vaccines and assist researchers in their development.
PATH is working to identify potential new vaccines and to assist researchers in their development. For example, we’re cataloging collections of pneumococcus around the world (researchers need access to the various types!), figuring out how to best evaluate vaccine candidates as they are developed, and identifying ways to streamline the production of the new vaccines so that, once they become available, they are affordable to public health systems in low-income countries.
All hands on deck
PATH’s expertise in building partnerships allows us to tap both public- and private-sector resources and knowledge. We are reaching out to researchers in universities and biotech firms, vaccine manufacturers, and various international health partners—to every individual and institution that can help realize our goal or speed up progress.
We recently advanced a vaccine candidate into clinical trials and expect to do the same for more candidates over the next few years. The goal is to develop a vaccine that is safe, effective, and affordable and that offers broad protection—a vaccine that’s a match for the pneumococcal diseases affecting children in the developing world.
For more information about pneumococcal disease and vaccines, check out our Vaccine Resource Library.
Photos, from top: PATH/Julie Jacobson, Wendy Stone.