World Immunization Week is an opportunity for the global community to recognize the importance of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
Vaccines represent some of the most impactful advances in public health, helping to prevent the spread of many infectious diseases and, in many parts of the world, eliminating some of the most devastating disease conditions.
There are several notable success stories in the prevention of infectious diseases worldwide. For example, smallpox at one point was one of the deadliest diseases in existence. Now across the globe, due to aggressive vaccination programs, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980.
Today, biopharmaceutical companies are working with stakeholders across the research and development ecosystem to develop new ways of preventing and treating illnesses with innovative vaccines. According to a new report, there are currently 258 vaccines in development for the treatment or prevention of disease.
Among the vaccines in development are:
- 108 vaccines for cancer, including a therapeutic vaccine which uses the patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor(s).
- 125 vaccines for infectious diseases, including a vaccine designed to prevent HIV infection by teaching a patient’s immune system to recognize and effectively fight the virus.
- 14 vaccines for allergies, including vaccines that target peanut allergies.
- Two vaccines for Alzheimer’s disease, including one therapeutic vaccine that targets the protein that is linked to the development of this neurological disorder.
Additionally, numerous different types of potential vaccines are in development that target COVID-19. Researchers are working around the clock amidst the global pandemic to develop safe, effective and affordable vaccines that will prevent both individual infection and the continued spread of the virus.
As of April 15, 2020:
- There are more than 70 vaccines for COVID-19 in the global research pipeline.
- Six vaccines for COVID-19 have entered human clinical trials with many planning to begin human trials this year.
The rapid pace at which researchers have been able to advance COVID-19 vaccine candidates is a testament to the lessons learned from past vaccine R&D and strong partnerships across sectors. As biopharmaceutical companies seek to identify and develop potential vaccines against COVID-19, companies are already scaling up manufacturing capabilities at risk and sharing technology platforms throughout the healthcare ecosystem.
Building on the tremendous success of vaccines thus far, there is significant hope for a future further transformed by innovative vaccines.