PATH welcomes call for action to prevent pneumococcal disease

May 22, 2006 by PATH

PATH supports the call for action on the need to vaccinate children in the developing world against pneumococcal disease, as expressed by international scientists in The Lancet. The May 18, 2006, online edition of the leading British medical journal published a commentary, entitled “Pneumococcal Vaccination in Developing Countries.” In the article, the authors call for improved pneumococcal disease surveillance and accelerated pneumococcal vaccine introduction in the developing world.

Pneumococcal disease kills an estimated one million children under the age of five each year. More than 90 percent of those deaths occur in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization. The article's authors also call upon international donors and industry to negotiate a sustainable, affordable, supply of pneumococcal vaccine for developing countries.

“We are encouraged by this global call for action to get vaccines available now to the children who need them,” said John Boslego, MD, who leads PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine development work. “Increased global action for the introduction of safe and effective vaccines is important for improved child survival.”

In April 2006, PATH announced the launch of its pneumococcal protein vaccine effort aimed at accelerating development of a vaccine that is capable of addressing a broad range of strains of pneumococcus, a bacterium that causes pneumonia. The program is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more about PATH’s pneumococcal vaccine effort.

In addition to accelerating pneumococcal protein vaccine development, PATH leads programs to speed up the introduction of rotavirushuman papillomavirus (HPV), and Japanese encephalitis vaccines—among others—in developing countries.