They’re calling it the “Decade of Vaccines
Researchers writing in The Lancet
say there is the potential to develop twenty vaccines in the next decade, as well as improve existing vaccines.
Their goal is to not only develop vaccinations for numerous diseases, such as leprosy, AIDS, and malaria, but to also make vaccinations for children a global priority, most especially for third world countries where diseases such as whooping cough and polio still wreak havoc.
"We need to find the requisite funds for the research and development of about twenty improved or novel vaccines in the next decade or beyond,” said the researchers.
According to these researchers and scientists, funding is critical—but so is trust and confidence in vaccines.
“It is perhaps surprising that the public aren't always comfortable with immunization,” said Professor Richard Moxon Oxford University. "This call to action comes at a crucial time. In some communities, recent declines in vaccine uptake provide a stark reminder that public confidence and trust in immunisation is fragile and requires attention."
One such reminder was the recent outbreak of measles
in Hennepin County, Minnesota, when an unvaccinated two-year contracted the disease after a trip to Kenya; the child lived in a neighborhood of Somalia descendents who were wary of vaccinating their children.
"It's complex. Perhaps one of the things that's most important is that vaccines are given to healthy people—often children,” stated Moxon. “Safety issues loom very large because there's very little awareness of many of the diseases that have been prevented by vaccines, such as polio and whooping cough."
Moxon was the brain behind the series of papers
looking at the future of vaccine research.
The researchers are focusing on vaccinations such as AIDS and malaria, which they recognize as vaccines at the top of the list, but they are also looking to create vaccines for other diseases which may still be causing large health issues around the world.
"We must also consider vaccines beyond classic infections, such as insulin-dependent diabetes, cancers and degenerative diseases,” said the scientists.
that he believed an AIDS vaccine is still many years away, but there is hope for an effective malaria vaccine within the next five years.
Maxon and fellow authors are issuing a “call to action” to developing countries and requesting that these nations shoulder more of the responsibility for financing vaccination programs.
"Most developing countries accord too low a priority to health in their budgets,” said Moxon. “They must be persuaded to take more of the burden themselves on behalf of their poorer citizens.”
Funding is critical and is still being debated for the Decade of Vaccines.