‘Disruptive approaches are needed to enrich the pipeline and accelerate development.’
The European Commission’s Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) has set out the top three health threats requiring coordinated measures at the EU level in terms of medical interventions. The three threats are: pathogens with high pandemic potential; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats; and antimicrobial resistance. The threats were identified in collaboration with Commission services, EU Agencies and international partners and experts to ensure global alignment and close collaboration on global health security.
The Commission said that identifying these key threats launches a process to ensure the development, production capacity and scaling up of manufacturing, procurement and potential stockpiling of medical supplies is put in place. HERA, along with other EU agencies, will also ensure that investment is continuously directed to safeguarding public health and health security.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: ‘For the first time, today we present the top health threats we should be preparing for, and working to respond to. This exercise is the first step in ensuring that medical countermeasures can be made available and accessible to all Member States swiftly when needed.’
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: ‘For the first time, today we present the top health threats we should be preparing for, and working to respond to.' Credit: European Union 2019
At the same time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its first report on the pipeline of vaccines currently in development to prevent infections caused by antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacterial pathogens. The WHO says that its analysis points to the need to accelerate trials for AMR related vaccines in late-stage development and maximise use of existing vaccines.
The report: Bacterial vaccines in clinical and pre-clinical development 2021 identifies 61 vaccine candidates in various stages of clinical development, including several in late stages of development, to address diseases listed on the bacterial priority pathogens list, which the WHO has prioritised for R&D. The report indicates that while the late-stage vaccine candidates ‘have a high development feasibility’ it cautions that most ‘will not be available anytime soon.’
‘Disruptive approaches are needed to enrich the pipeline and accelerate development. The lessons from covid-19 vaccine development and mRNA vaccines offer unique opportunities to explore for developing vaccines against bacteria,’ Dr Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director of AMR Global Coordination Department.
The report examines some of the challenges facing vaccine innovation and development, including for pathogens associated with hospital-acquired infections. It also calls for equitable and global access to vaccines that already exist.