New platform for sharing vaccine information

18 January 2021 | Muriel Cozier

‘The global vaccine rollout has exposed glaring inequalities in access to this life saving tool.’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has agreed to establish a platform for global sharing and coordination of emerging research information on vaccine efficacy and safety. The new platform would enable scientists to contribute and discuss unpublished, and published, data and research protocols to further the collective understanding of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

The development came at a virtual forum, hosted by the WHO and attended by more than 2800 scientists, where discussion focused on the identification of knowledge gaps and setting research priorities for vaccines against SARs-CoV-2.

A WHO statement said, ‘Experts agreed the need for critical research on administering vaccines in different target populations, as well as on vaccination delivery strategies and schedules.’ There were also discussions on the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and how this might impact the efficacy of vaccines, the  transmission of infection, and the need to develop the next generation of vaccine platforms.

Professor Mike Levine, Director of the Centre for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, US, commented ‘The world needs multiple vaccines that work in different populations in order to meet global demand and end the covid-19 outbreak. Ideally, those will be single-dose vaccines that do not require cold chain, could be delivered without a needle and syringe and are amenable to large-scale manufacture.’

The WHO added that more than 30 million vaccine doses have been administered in 47 mostly high-income countries but said that; ‘The global vaccine rollout has exposed glaring inequalities in access to this life saving tool.’

‘We must be mindful of the inequalities and we must deliberately promote investment in regional capacities to level the playing field and have meaningful collaboration to begin to address some of the challenges,’ said Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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