Vaccine Technologies at PATH profiles our work over more than 30 years to advance innovative vaccine technologies.
Vaccination against infectious diseases already saves millions of lives around the world each year. Even more deaths can be prevented through improvements in vaccines and vaccine-delivery systems.
Developing and advancing innovative technologies to improve vaccine effectiveness, efficiency, safety, and storage are a critical part of PATH’s work. We are also working to craft forward-thinking strategies and policies to improve immunization logistics (e.g., Project Optimize—in collaboration with the World Health Organization).
Our priorities include:
- Advancing novel vaccine formulations and processing methods.
- Evaluating the technical and commercial feasibility of improving vaccine thermostability.
- Reducing needlestick injuries by developing immunization devices that shield or eliminate needles.
- Creating inherently simple and easy-to-use devices and user aids that improve safety and ease immunization logistics.
- Addressing issues of cost by developing and testing effective devices that enable delivery of a reduced dosage of vaccine and help to decrease vaccine wastage.
- Improving vaccine presentations and packaging to meet user needs and minimize environmental impact.
- Developing and facilitating access to new equipment that stores, monitors, and transports vaccines at appropriate temperatures.
- Analyzing the cost-effectiveness of various immunization strategies and interventions to facilitate decision-making.
Our work in vaccine technologies is particularly important to immunization programs with limited resources that seek to improve health outcomes for groups disproportionately affected by diseases such as hepatitis B, measles, pneumonia, and Japanese encephalitis.
The disposable-syringe jet injector uses a high-pressure liquid stream, allowing vaccine to penetrate the skin without the need for a needle.
PATH’s technical capabilities reflect decades of experience in needs assessment, original product design or strategic adaptation, bench and field testing, technology transfer, scale-up, licensing, market analysis, and product introduction of immunization-related technologies. Our fully equipped onsite research laboratory and product development shop facility are valuable resources for testing promising concepts and technologies—often under conditions similar to those of developing-country immunization programs.
Our work with vaccine producers and vaccine-development projects means we understand the commercial realities of advancing products for public-sector markets. At the same time, our strong field presence grounds us in the diverse local needs surrounding technology uptake and use.
PATH takes a distinctive, systematic approach to advancing vaccine technologies. Key elements include:
- Involving end users at all stages of product design and development.
- Validating products in the laboratory.
- Defining markets and product-introduction strategies.
- Developing value propositions for products that are meaningful to all stakeholders who influence or enable change in immunization programs.
- Engaging with “gatekeeper” agencies to adjust policies and practices as needed.
We advance technologies to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of vaccine delivery. Read more.
Achievements often hinge on effective collaboration with public- and private-sector partners, which have played key roles in advancing products that are now distributed in the billions worldwide. These partners include governments, vaccine and technology companies, laboratories, universities, other nongovernmental organizations, research consortiums, and international agencies.
Participation by both public- and private-sector entities is crucial. Although public-sector support is indispensable for development of vaccine-related technologies, it may not yield economically sustainable outcomes. Conversely, market forces alone may be insufficient to meet the health needs of low-income populations.
To ensure affordability and availability of new technologies, PATH has developed guidelines for working with the private sector. These include approaches to managing intellectual property to serve both private and public interests. The overarching goal is to harness the power of markets for sustainable improvements in global health.
Photos, from top: PATH, Scott Areman, Heng Chivoan.