Accelerating Vaccine Development for Global Health Impact – a WHO Initiative to Prioritize Key Endemic Pathogens

In a significant stride towards facilitating and informing priorities in global vaccine development for endemic pathogens, the World Health Organization (WHO) has commissioned 16 “Vaccine Value Profiles” (VVPs) to be published in a groundbreaking Supplement in the journal Vaccine.

This milestone is the result of collaborations with several pathogen and vaccine experts, led by the Product Development and Research (PDR) team in WHO’s Immunization, Vaccines & Biologicals department, with the primary objective of advancing the development of vaccines for pathogens that pose a substantial public health and socio-economic burden, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The forthcoming Supplement is set to feature value profiles focused on 16 pathogens with vaccines in late-stage clinical development. These profiles, meticulously prepared by independent teams of global subject matter experts, compile state of the art, publicly available data and information to establish the current understanding of anticipated vaccine development and implementation feasibility, use cases and potential public health impact of vaccines, once they receive licensure and are deployed for public health purposes.

Vaccine value profiles serve as comprehensive summaries of critical evidence, essential for guiding vaccine funding, research initiatives, and clinical and policy development strategies. These tools aim to serve as key resources for multiple stakeholders in the vaccine development and immunization community, to inform their investment, prioritization and strategic decision-making. The Vaccine Value Profiles are helping to inform Gavi’s Vaccine Investment Strategy (VIS), facilitating evidence-based prioritization of vaccines as well as a regional and global initiative to establish priority endemic pathogens for development of new vaccines, as part of the Immunization Agenda 2030.

“These Vaccine Value Profiles have the potential to catalyze vaccine development and activate new research collaborations by providing a comprehensive understanding of what is currently known – and not known – about the potential value that vaccines could bring to the world. Our goal is to provide stakeholders, including R&D funders, policymakers, regulators, manufacturers, and the public, with the insights necessary to make informed decisions and accelerate the development of vaccines that will have the greatest impact,” says Professor Ruth Karron from Johns Hopkins University.

The Supplement’s first volume will feature the Vaccine Value Profile for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), along with profiles for Group B Streptococcus, CMV (cytomegalovirus), Shigella, Salmonella paratyphi A, enterotoxigenic E. Coli Norovirus, and Leishmaniasis. Additionally, the issue will include commentary on neglected tropical diseases, underscoring the comprehensive scope of this monumental initiative. A second volume will follow later in 2023, and will include vaccines such as against Klebsiella pneumoniae or Neisseria gonorrhoea.

“WHO extends its gratitude to all authors, the editorial team at the journal Vaccine, to Professor Mark Jit who served as special editor, and all contributors who have played an instrumental role in developing this critical tool kit. As the first volume of this Supplement is released, we will leverage learnings from these Vaccine Value Profiles to work in-step with key stakeholders to accelerate vaccine development and ensure access, to fortify global health and improve equity, particularly in – countries,” says Dr Katherine O’Brien, the Director of Immunization, Vaccines & Biologicals at the World Health Organization.

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