Burning issues in vaccine development

Reflections regarding the current global challenges in the vaccine field

During the past couple of years number and extent of critical topics related to vaccines were steadily growing. First, frequency of outbreak events has increased accompanied by no or only late coming preventive options. Second, only few pharmaceutical companies are left having the knowledge and the financial resources to produce vaccines and to invest into development of new products. Third, despite all these efforts expanding global markets cause dramatic supply problems for many vaccines. Critical supply issues are no longer restricted to low or middle income countries but also widely concern the high income countries.

On the other hand public position towards vaccines is still critical, specifically in the industrialized countries making it difficult for the vaccine industry to successfully place their products on the market.

Furthermore, novel instruments implemented in order to assess the cost effectiveness of vaccines constantly raise additional hurdles questioning the economical success of licensed and new vaccines.

Recognizing the value of vaccines is, however, swiftly facilitated as soon as vaccines against emerging infectious diseases are urgently needed but cannot be made available since neither concepts nor production facilities are readily available. Again, it is believed that it is solely the responsibility of established manufacturers to provide vaccine solutions.

Although heavily subsidized by public money academic institutions are still unable to effectively contribute to vaccine development and production.

This rather dramatic outlook calls for better coordination and improved strategies in order to ensure that also in future established and new vaccines can be made available in sufficient quantities.

These critical issues need to be addressed to avoid or rapidly overcome current and upcoming critical situations.