The Vaccine Landscape for Neglected Diseases

The Vaccine Landscape for Neglected Diseases is a new report by BIO Ventures for Global Health.

Neglected diseases affect more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest people. In 2011, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) published an expanded edition of its Global Health Primer, a tool that compiles and tracks drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics in development for neglected
diseases. The Global Health Primer currently tracks vaccines on market and in development for 17 neglected diseases. Analysis of the data has uncovered several trends across the vaccine research and development (R&D) space for neglected diseases:

  • Lack of financing options, clear policy statements, or WHO prequalification of an approved vaccine severely limits access and the potential to save lives.
  • Newer vaccines in development for neglected diseases are increasingly scientifically complex, which has implications for clinical trial design and cost, regulatory approval, WHO prequalification, and delivery in resource-poor settings.
  • Lack of integration of scientific research questions into the design of vaccine clinical efficacy trials has resulted in limited learning from failed trials or trials where only partial vaccine efficacy was observed.
  • Clinical stage or approved vaccines, where proof of concept has been demonstrated, are primarily limited to viral and bacterial diseases. There are relatively fewer vaccines in development for parasitic diseases and proof of concept in this space is limited to malaria.
  • Despite the availability of alternative control methods for some neglected diseases, such as vector control or mass drug administration (MDA), investment in vaccination may address key gaps in control strategies as elimination or eradication goals are

In light of these trends and the current status of vaccine development for neglected diseases, BVGH then recommends actions.

As we look toward the future of the battle against neglected diseases, these issues will play a central role in driving and shaping vaccine development. Although vaccines will face a wide range of challenges on the path toward reaching populations in need, BVGH hopes this report will stimulate both discussion and action in the neglected disease vaccine space.