Overcoming the financial obstacles of vaccine development

The pipeline for potential vaccines against diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia—diseases that primarily afflict people living in low- and middle-income countries—is promising, but substantial funding challenges could hamper efforts to advance these vaccine candidates to later stages of research, according to an article in Nature.

The December 18, 2018 article, co-authored by David Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, examined the challenges of developing vaccines that could have a significant impact on public health in developing countries but offer limited financial return for developers. The article noted that only four large companies are currently developing and manufacturing vaccines, down from nine in 2000.

Among the recommendations the authors made to drive vaccine development forward is to assess all 240 vaccine candidates currently in the pipeline to ensure limited resources are devoted to the most promising candidates. They also called on stakeholders such as the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to develop finance schemes that give vaccine developers more certainty about financial backing from the start.

Read the Nature article: Vaccine candidates for poor nations are going to waste