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Global Health Vaccine Development

If you could ask a scientist

Working so closely with scientists involved in HIV vaccine research and development, it often escapes me that some “obvious” information about how vaccines are developed, tested and introduced to the population is not so obvious at all!

For instance, did you know that there are so many factors that determine how effective a vaccine or drug will be in your body including your genetic make-up and environment? This is the reason that, as much as possible, scientists try to conduct clinical trials within different communities where the medicine or vaccine is intended for use to ensure their data helps them develop the most suitable product?

And did you know there are many different different technologies applied in developing them, each design carrying its own advantages and disadvantages including: vaccine safety, the amount of immunity they provide, the length of time the immunity lasts, the amount of vaccine that will be needed in a single dose etc.?

The world of vaccine development is complex and often, a lack of information or misunderstanding can breed fear and cause deep mistrust between us and the people who have dedicated their themselves to improving lives through science.

So, I ask, if there was just one question you would like to ask a scientist, what would it be?

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Global Health Uncategorized Vaccine Development

It will take more than vaccine efficacy to control COVID-19

While we are understandably obsessed with vaccine efficacy, there are other important influences on the success of immunisation in controlling the COVID19 pandemic globally—vaccine manufacturing capacity, distribution systems and infrastructure, pace of implementation, coverage, health messaging, and continued adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions.

There are lessons to be learned from the universal eradication of smallpox. The control of SARS-CoV-2 demands an approach that includes universal political commitment and a global coordinating body to provide strategic and moral leadership.

Read: The lessons of smallpox eradication for COVID-19 by Richard Horton.

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