Not Too Early To Consider Funding For, Distribution Of Malaria Vaccine

In this Huffington Post opinion piece, Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins University, notes some of the parallels between the development of RTS,S, the experimental malaria vaccine currently being tested in Africa, and the polio vaccine, but he says “there are also some particularly disappointing ways in which the polio and malaria efforts could differ.”

Shortly after the success of the polio vaccine was announced in 1955, it “was licensed, … multiple manufacturers immediately lined up to produce the vaccine,” and “the U.S. government stepped up to pay for the vaccine,” Levine writes. The malaria vaccine’s “latest achievement should serve as an early signal for all parties to begin working earnestly to anticipate and overcome vaccine access issues,” he says, adding that “donors need to decide how their support will be used to fund this vaccine,” such as through the GAVI Alliance, and “the manufacturer and the buyers (whomever is chosen) need to begin discussions about pricing and volumes of vaccine now — and need to move toward making development and purchasing commitments” (10/27).