A look back at a year of vaccine announcements
Since we published the Access to Vaccines Index in March 2017, vaccine companies have reported a series of positive developments in their efforts to address immunisation coverage. The Access to Medicine Foundation has reviewed these statements to give a sense of the level of momentum in the vaccines industry to improve access to vaccines. Here is a run-down of their public announcements.
The overview published today summarises announcements made by the eight companies evaluated in the Access to Vaccines Index. It includes announcements published between 1 April 2017 and 3 January 2018. Out of 18 published announcements, two thirds relate to research and development, with others relating to licensing agreements, procurement matters and vaccine supply.
- Vaccine companies report more activity in research and development than in other areas, making nine announcements relating to clinical trials and four about new R&D partnerships that aim to make vaccines more effective or easier to deploy to limited-resource communities.
- An announcement regarding a technology transfer supports the view that licensing is a feasible and effective way of increasing access to vaccines. More companies can take advantage of licensing as a way of introducing their vaccines in new markets.
- Three companies announced developments that can help make vaccine supply more reliable, including for pneumonia, influenza and polio vaccines.
The power of vaccines
Vaccines are one of the most powerful and cost-effective health interventions available. Yet WHO states that an estimated 19.5 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines. The global community shares the responsibility of ensuring everyone can benefit from immunisation. The companies that develop and manufacture vaccines have a clear role to play here: in developing new and improved vaccines; in addressing the affordability of vaccines; and in aligning supply and demand.
Vaccines are also a critical tool for slowing the rise of drug resistance. By preventing illness, vaccines reduce the need for antibiotics, minimising the chance that bacteria develop resistance. The Foundation’s first Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark, due to be published shortly at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, will describe how a cross-section of the pharmaceutical industry is developing and deploying vaccines for pathogens that pose the highest risk of drug resistance.
About the Access to Vaccines Index
The first Access to Vaccines Index mapped how the world’s largest vaccine companies are improving access to vaccines in low- and middle-income countries. The Index evaluated eight companies – including the largest players by volume and/or revenue in a highly consolidated market – in relation to 107 countries and 69 infectious diseases. The Index revealed a high level of diversity in how vaccine companies are improving access to vaccines for people living in poorer countries. This diversity is generally linked to the size of their portfolios and pipelines. The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index was funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.