Vaccines and Global Health: The Week in Review has expanded its coverage of new reports, books, research and analysis published independent of the journal channel covered in Journal Watch below. Our interests span immunization and vaccines, as well as global public health, health governance, and associated themes. If you would like to suggest content to be included in this service, please contact David Curry at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BMGF – Gates Foundation [to 18 February 2017]
February 14, 2017
Our 2017 Annual Letter
By Bill and Melinda Gates
The Best Deal Is Vaccines
Melinda: And if you want to know the best deal within the deal—it’s vaccines. Coverage for the basic package of childhood vaccines is now the highest it’s ever been, at 86 percent. And the gap between the richest and the poorest countries is the lowest it’s ever been. Vaccines are the biggest reason for the drop in childhood deaths.
Melinda: They’re an incredible investment. The pentavalent vaccine, which protects against five deadly infections in a single shot, now costs under a dollar.
Bill: And for every dollar spent on childhood immunizations, you get $44 in economic benefits. That includes saving the money that families lose when a child is sick and a parent can’t work.
Melinda: At the start, we just couldn’t understand why vaccines weren’t available to every child who needed them. We were naïve. There were no market incentives to serve people, and we had never seen that before.
Bill: The market wasn’t working for vaccines for poor kids because the families who needed them couldn’t afford them. But this gave us an opening. If we could create a purchasing fund so pharmaceutical companies would have enough customers, they’d have the market incentives to develop and produce vaccines.
Melinda: That’s the magic of philanthropy. It doesn’t need a financial return, so it can do things business can’t. But the limit of philanthropy is that the money runs out before the need is met. That’s why business and government have to play a role if the change is going to last.
Bill: That led us to partner with business and government to set up Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, with the goal of getting vaccines to every child in the world. Gavi connects companies who develop vaccines with wealthy governments that help with funding and developing countries that get the vaccines to their people. Since 2000, Gavi has helped immunize 580 million children around the world. The United States is a major donor to Gavi—with bipartisan support—along with the UK, Norway, Germany, France, and Canada. It’s one of the great things the rich world does for the rest of the world.
Melinda: But there’s more to do—19 million children, many of them living in conflict zones or remote areas, are still not fully immunized. Their governments have to work harder to reach these kids. It’s crucial to the goal of cutting childhood deaths in half again—down below 3 million by 2030…
Wellcome Trust [to 18 February 2017]
Explainer Published: 13 February 2017
Preprints: we’re supporting calls for a Central Service
We now allow researchers to cite preprints in their grant applications. And, along with major international research funders, we’re supporting plans to establish a Central Service for Preprints. Robert Kiley, Open Research Development Lead, explains why.
For more than 25 years, researchers in disciplines such as high-energy physics and mathematics have been able to access the very latest research findings in the online repository known as arXiv (pronounced ‘archive’).
Here, researchers deposit their preprints – complete and public drafts of scientific documents, not yet certified by peer review – to:
:: ensure their findings are quickly and widely disseminated
:: establish priority of their discoveries
:: invite feedback and discussion to help improve the work.
Despite these benefits, researchers in the life sciences have been slow to share preprints. While the arXiv holds over 1.2 million articles, the number of preprints shared in the life and biomedical sciences is estimated to be less than 25,000. However, this disguises significant growth over the past two years, which has been aided by the work of ASAPbio (opens in a new tab), a scientist-driven initiative to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences…
While it’s positive that preprints are becoming a recognised part of the scholarly communications ecosystem, the downside is that it’s becoming more difficult for researchers to discover relevant content and to know, for example, which preprints have been subject to some initial screening to weed out ethically questionable or unscientific content.
To address these issues, we’re working with an international group of research funders to explore the value and feasibility of establishing a Central Service for Preprints.
The service would seek to aggregate content from multiple sources – such as the preprint servers listed above – and provide new ways for researchers and machines to search, access and reuse this content…