Releasing vaccines faster

24-09-2007 | |
Van Der Sluis

International trade and easy travelling from one end of the world to the other has become an issue in the increasing spread in the number and intensity of infectious diseases.

During the World Congress of the World Veterinary Poultry Association held in Beijing from 12-15 September, top specialists made it clear that the spread of Avian Influenza can be linked to migrating wild birds, but the majority of the spread in infections could be linked to product movements.
From other diseases we often see connections with movements of people and live animals or the transport of products. The human drive to create a united society and mingling of people of all origins seems to be taken on also by bacteria and viruses. They quickly spread around the world and there seems to be no difference between micro-organisms that affect plants, animals and people.
When reading the call from EU commissioner Markos Kyprianou to spend more money on research to develop new vaccines against emerging diseases, I remembered words from a leading scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. He said that more and more research will be terminated and or moved to countries outside the EU as long the political arena keeps on complicating, thus increasing costs of research and demand for more and more documentation.
The demand for an increasing number of documents extends the time before a new product can be released. Country officials in and outside the EU often keep desperately needed products on hold because of simple administrative reasons. Frequently products that have gone through an intensive screening procedure in one country have to go through similar procedures in other countries, because the authorities there seem to believe that they can do better than others, or perhaps they like to show-off their importance.
It would be great if politicians would have more trust in the work others have done and waste less time and public money on reviewing new product documents that have been reviewed by several qualified authorities elsewhere. This would shorten the time taken to bring new vaccines to the market, reduce the costs of it and speed up the battle against emerging diseases.