Milestones :: Perspectives

Milestones :: Perspectives
 
Meeting: SAGE Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE)
17 – 19 October 2017
Executive Board Room, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
:: Draft agenda pdf, 110kb  As of 27 September 2017
:: Background documents
 
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Attack on vaccines sets back immunization efforts in eastern Syrian Arab Republic
13 October 2017 | GENEVA – The World Health Organization has received reports of an attack on medical facilities in eastern Syrian Arab Republic that has destroyed the only vaccines cold room in al-Mayadeen district, Deir Ezzor Governorate.

More than 100,000 doses of measles vaccines and 35,000 doses of polio vaccines were stored in these facilities, alongside equipment, syringes, and stocks for all vaccine-preventable childhood diseases.

If confirmed, this would set back the efforts of WHO and health partners to protect the children of Deir Ezzor from preventable childhood diseases, including polio. WHO and local partners have intensified efforts to respond to an outbreak of polio that has affected 48 children in the Syrian Arab Republic since March this year.

“WHO has made strenuous efforts in cooperation with health authorities to deliver vaccines to protect the children living in these areas from disease,” said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in the Syrian Arab Republic. “We unequivocally condemn these actions. Vaccines are not a legitimate target of war.”

“Until a new cold room is built and the required cold chain equipment — including solar fridges, cold boxes and vaccine carriers — are delivered, this will delay the implementation of routine immunization for vulnerable children in the area,” Hoff added.

WHO has supported 23 polio campaigns since the first outbreak in 2013 and helped to establish 1,148 sentinel sites across the country, of which more than 35% are in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, including al-Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor Govenorate.

The last polio vaccination campaign in Deir Ezzor reached 252,768 children aged 0-59 months.
 
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Experimental Ebola vaccines elicit year-long immune response
October 11, 2017 —
NIH reports final data from large clinical trial in West Africa.
Results from a large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Liberia show that two candidate Ebola vaccines pose no major safety concerns and can elicit immune responses by one month after initial vaccination that last for at least one year. The findings, published in the October 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a study of 1,500 adults that began during the West Africa Ebola outbreak. The trial is being conducted by a U.S.-Liberia clinical research collaboration known as the Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL), established in 2014 in response to the request from the Liberian Minister of Health to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and involves scientists and clinicians from Liberia and the United States.

“This clinical trial has yielded valuable information that is essential for the continued development of these two Ebola vaccine candidates and also demonstrates that well-designed, ethically sound clinical research can be conducted during an epidemic,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “A safe and effective vaccine would be a critically important addition to classical public health measures in controlling inevitable future Ebola outbreaks.”

PREVAIL conducts collaborative biomedical research in accordance with best practices, to advance science, strengthen health policy and practice, and improve the health of people in Liberia and around the world. The partnership launched this first study, PREVAIL 1, in February 2015.  Originally designed to enroll 28,000 volunteers, the trial was scaled back to a Phase 2 study when the decline in new Ebola cases made it impossible to conduct a large efficacy study.
“In Liberia, we have demonstrated to the global community that rigorous scientific research can take place in a developing sub-Saharan African country when a mutually beneficial partnership is developed,” noted Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, Liberia’s Minister of Health. “The work of PREVAIL, ranging from the Ebola vaccine to the Ebola survivor studies, clearly manifest the prospects of such a sustainable partnership and clinical research platform.”

The co-leaders of the trial are Stephen B. Kennedy, M.D., M.P.H., senior research scientist at the University of Liberia-Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (UL-PIRE) Africa Center, an infectious disease research center; Fatorma Bolay, Ph.D., director, Public Health and Medical Research at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia; and H. Clifford Lane, M.D., NIAID’s clinical director…