WHO/UNICEF/World Bank: “The State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization, Third Edition”

The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the World Bank jointly released “The State of the World’s Vaccines and Immunization, Third Edition” which reports that “more infants are being immunized today than ever before – a record 106 million in 2008,” but that “…life-saving vaccines, now common in wealthy countries, still do not reach an estimated 24 million children who are most at risk and at least an additional US$1 billion per year will be needed to ensure that new and existing vaccines will be delivered to all children in the 72 poorest countries.” Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO. Commented, “The influenza pandemic draws attention to the promise and dynamism of vaccine development today. Yet it reminds us once again of the obstacles to bringing the benefits of science to people in the poorest nations. We must overcome the divide that separates rich from poor – between those who get life-saving vaccines, and those who don’t.”

The report notes that at least 120 vaccines – a record number – are now available against deadly diseases. In addition, over 80 new products are in late-stage clinical testing, including more than 30 that target diseases for which no vaccine currently exists. At the same time, a significant number of vaccine candidates, including ones targeting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and dengue, are moving through the research pipeline.

The report also notes that the global vaccine market has tripled over the last eight years, reaching more than US$17 billion in revenue, and that “rising demand for vaccines via United Nations procuring agencies and a renaissance in vaccine discovery and development have fueled industry’s renewed focus on vaccines.” Significantly, the report notes, “manufacturers in developing countries are now meeting 86 % of the global demand for traditional vaccines, such as those protecting against measles, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus and diphtheria.”

Report available at: http://www.who.int/immunization/sowvi/en/index.html

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2009/state_immunizaton_20091021/en/index.html

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