Vaccines: The Week in Review 29 September 2012

Editor’s Notes:

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UN Event – Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World

GPEI Media Release: Global Luminaries Unite to Issue Urgent Call for a Polio-Free World
“…The high-level event, “Our Commitment to the Next Generation: The Legacy of a Polio-free World,” featured opening remarks from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and was moderated by Senator Timothy E. Wirth, president of the UN Foundation.
“Speakers included leaders of the three polio-endemic countries: President Hamid Karzai, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; President Goodluck Jonathan, Federal Republic of Nigeria; and President Asif Ali Zardari, Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Earlier this year, these leaders launched national emergency plans to stop transmission of polio in their countries…”

Statement: UN Secretary-General’s remarks at side event on Polio Eradication
New York, 27 September 2012:

Joint Media Release: Leaders at UN event unite behind final push to eradicate polio
7 September 2012 – World leaders, donors and experts today hailed a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to eradicate polio, as they gathered at the United Nations to celebrate efforts that have already reduced the incidence of the crippling and potentially fatal disease by 99 per cent around the globe.

“Globally, we have the lowest number of cases reported this year,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the high-level event on polio eradication, which took place on the sidelines of the General Assembly debate at UN Headquarters in New York.

“But everything hinges on stopping polio in a few districts in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said, referring to the three remaining countries where the disease is endemic.

The vaccine-preventable infectious disease raged in 125 countries when the global fight against it began in 1988 under the banner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). While India had long been regarded as the nation facing the greatest challenges to eradication, it has been polio free for more than 18 months.

But Mr. Ban said the success of the final push depended on the “quality” of the world’s efforts in those remaining areas.

He called not only for close cooperation from government, religious, traditional and community leaders, but also for belligerents to play their part in helping end the disease.

“Where there is fighting and insecurity, we need warring parties to allow aid workers to operate,” he told the gathering, which included the participation of Presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan. “I appeal to all parties to provide safe passage for health workers to access and vaccinate children.”

Polio is among five major afflictions Mr. Ban pledged to aggressively tackle during this, his second term as Secretary-General. He is also committed to tackling malaria, new paediatric HIV infections, maternal and neonatal tetanus, and measles.

“This is a matter of health and justice. Every child should have the right to start life with equal protection from these diseases,” Mr. Ban said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) spearheads the GPEI, whose ultimate success would mark an early milestone in the Decade of Vaccines, which in turn represents a global vision to provide all children with the vaccines they need.

“No single one of us can bring this long, hard drive over the last hurdle,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said. “But together we can.”

A major GPEI donor is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose co-chair, Bill Gates, also spoke of the significance eradicating polio would have for combating other diseases. “When we defeat polio, it will motivate us to aim for other great health and development milestones,” he said.

GPEI is currently developing a long-term roadmap for ending polio through a strategy whose investment legacy will benefit other vaccine-preventable disease goals. This comes after 194 States of the World Health Assembly declared the final push towards polio eradication to be a “programmatic emergency for global public health.”

“Governments need to step up and honour their commitments,” Wilfred J. Wilkinson, Chair of Rotary Foundation Trustees, told today’s gathering. For its part, Rotary International, which already has contributed $1.2 billion to polio eradication, announced additional funding of $75 million over three years for GPEI.

Pledges, initiatives and simple reinforcement of commitments came from a host of leaders and senior government officials, including those of Australia, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Islamic Development Bank, a new donor to the polio eradication effort, announced a three-year $227 million financing package to Pakistan, and a $3 million grant for Afghanistan.

Sandro Rosell, President, Football Club Barcelona (FCB) and FCB Foundation, announced the club’s engagement on the polio issue in collaboration with the Gates Foundation and Etisalat, the largest telecomm operator in the Middle East.

Among significant related upcoming events, some 60,000 people are expected to attend a concert in New York’s Central Park on 29 September. The organizers, Global Poverty Project, say their Global Citizen Festival aims to inspire a global movement to voice support for both eradicating polio and for advancing the group’s core cause, ending extreme poverty.

GPEI Update: Polio this week – As of 25 Sep 2012

Update: Polio this week – As of 25 Sep 2012
Global Polio Eradication Initiative

[Editor’s Extract]
One new case was reported in the past week (WPV1 from Kandahar), bringing the total number of cases for 2012 to 18. It is the most recent case in the country and had onset of paralysis on 28 August…

Two new cases were reported in the past week (WPV1s from Kaduna and Jigawa), bringing the total number of cases for 2012 to 90. The case from Kaduna is the most recent in the country and had onset of paralysis on 1 September…

Two new cases were reported in the past week (WPV1s from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – KP – and Federally Administered Tribal Areas), bringing the total number of cases for 2012 to 37. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on 30 August (WPV1 from KP)…

iERG on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

Media Release: Most of world will fail to meet goals for women’s and children’s health by 2015 amid declining donor funding
iERG on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health
26 September 2012

The first report of the UN Secretary-General’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG)* on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, to be launched on September 26 at the UN General Assembly, concludes that although headline reductions in maternal and child mortality during the past decade have been impressive in some countries, millions of women and children still die every year from preventable causes. Unless those causes are more urgently addressed globally and in countries, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 will not be met by most nations by the target year of 2015. What is more, declining rates of donor funding and a failure to target resources to the countries with the greatest need could have devastating consequences for the survival of millions of women and children worldwide.

Pledge: DoV Collaboration Leadership commits to making DoV vision a reality

Post: DoV Collaboration Leadership commits to making DoV vision a reality

September 25th, 2012

This pledge proclaims the commitment by the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration Leadership Council to make the vision of the Decade of Vaccines a reality through the implementation of the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). This pledge also shows the DoV Collaboration’s commitment to the principles of Every Woman Every Child.

The Decade of Vaccines is a vision to reach all people with the vaccines they need. The Leadership Council of the Decade of Vaccines has made a commitment to this vision and asks for your organization’s pledge to improve the health and lives of women and children everywhere by systematically addressing their unmet needs in immunization. Immunization throughout a person’s lifetime is crucial if we are to achieve the ambitious goals of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.

As representatives of the numerous organizations that worked on the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration, we are proud to say that millions of lives will be saved thanks to the promise of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, an ambitious roadmap approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2012 to deliver universal access to immunizations.

The leadership of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and others that formed the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration, have pledged our support to this joint effort. Many governments, health leaders, non-government organizations and other agencies have joined us.

We are all committed to improving the health of every woman and every child on the planet.     Our vision to achieve this is straightforward: We will work together to extend, by 2020 and beyond, the full benefits of immunization to all people, regardless of where they are born, who they are or where they live. We will use the powerful tools already available to most, but not yet all people, including existing and new vaccines that prevent disease and save lives.

We have achieved many things through immunization: We eradicated smallpox from the world, in what has been called one of mankind’s greatest triumphs. We are on the verge of eradicating polio, and the toll of other diseases has dropped tremendously. The Region of the Americas has eliminated measles and rubella, saving many lives.

Despite these accomplishments, and the lives that have been improved through immunization, we cannot rest while the lives of so many depend on our actions at this seminal moment. We must reach forward, work together and make this vision of the Decade of Vaccines a reality. We all have a role in making this happen. We ask that you make your voices heard and your actions count, in support of the Global Vaccine Action Plan.


[Editor’s Note: While no individual names are included in the pledge above, the DoV leadership is listed here: ]

Dr. Alejandro Cravioto to join IVI as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO)

IVI Director General Christian Loucq, MD announced that Dr. Alejandro Cravioto will join IVI as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) effective October 15, 2012. As CSO, Dr. Cravioto will “assume responsibility for the oversight of all scientific affairs at IVI and will provide expert advice on matters relevant to vaccine science and technology, potential opportunities, and emerging orientations and trends in the field of vaccine research.” IVI noted that Dr. Cravioto brings a breadth of experience that will be critical for the further development of IVI.  For the past 7 years, he was the Deputy Director and Executive Director of ICDDR,B in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2011, he was appointed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to head a panel investigating the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Dr. Cravioto is a Mexican National who obtained his MD at the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He trained as  a Pediatrician (National Institute of Pediatric, Mexico City) and received a Diploma in Tropical Public Health and a Ph.D. at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. While in Mexico Dr. Cravioto served as Head of the Research Department and Deputy Director of the National Institute of Health and Technology for Child Health. He later became Director of the Division of Microbiology at the National Institute of Public Health of Cuernavaca and Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico before being appointed as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1995 to 2003.

[IVI email announcement, 27 September 2012]

Atreca, Inc. announces US$6 million Gates Foundation investment

Atreca, Inc. announced a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the discovery and development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for human infectious diseases. The US$6 million BMGF investment “…provides Atreca an opportunity to apply its Immune Repertoire Capture technology to meet key challenges in global health.” This technology “leverages next-generation sequencing to identify rapidly and comprehensively the set of functional antibodies produced in patients during an immune response. These antibodies both have utility themselves and can be employed to identify the targets of an immune response.  Applied to human disease, Immune Repertoire Capture is an engine for the discovery and development of antibody-based therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and research reagents.  Atreca recently licensed exclusive rights to the technology for all fields of use from Stanford University.” Atreca is a privately held biopharmaceutical founded in 2010 with headquarters in San Carlos, California.