Global collaboration to promote vaccine research and development

26 November 2018 GCRFHealthPartnerships

Child getting polio vaccine in India

The World Health Organization estimates that global immunisation campaigns save more than 2.5 million lives every year and protect millions more from disease and disability. Vaccines are urgently needed to protect more people living in low and middle-income (LMIC) countries from infectious diseases. VALIDATE is an international network aiming to accelerate vaccine development, facilitating the first ever human clinical trial of a melioidosis vaccine, a disease that kills approximately 89,000 people annually.

VALIDATE currently connects almost 400 researchers from 52 countries, covering a wide range of specialisms and linking many different institutions. Its aim is to encourage new collaborations across this interdisciplinary research field, and to quickly disseminate
lessons learned.

The initial focus is on four pathogens with no currently successful vaccine; tuberculosis (TB), leishmaniasis, melioidosis and leprosy, all of which significantly affect millions of people living in poverty across the world. Vaccine development will not only impact on their health and wellbeing but will have economic benefits to both individuals and their countries. For example, TB is the number one infectious disease killer worldwide, killing 1.5 million people every year. It has an average total cost to the patient that is equivalent to a year’s wages.

Alongside investing in projects across 14 countries and supporting the next generation of vaccine researchers through training grants and mentoring, VALIDATE also engages with the public to raise the profile of the four focus diseases. Another asset is their equipment donation scheme, allowing surplus equipment to be shipped to LMIC laboratories – improving their capacity to participate in collaborative opportunities. A machine for detecting mycobacteria, enabling TB diagnosis, was recently donated to the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Vaccine development for complex intracellular neglected pathogens (Grant no. MR/R005850/1)

UK project lead: Professor Helen McShane, University of Oxford
Network Co-director: Professor Helen Fletcher, LSHTM
Call: MRC Vaccines Network
Delivery partner: Medical Research Council
Countries: Members are based in Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, DRC, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan. Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, Somalia,
South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Uganda, UK, USA.
Network includes: 193 institutions across 52 countries

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