A study by Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health has some bad news for vaccine supporters. Vaccines that could help stop some of the world’s most deadly diseases are seemingly a pipe dream.
The study shows that pharmaceutical ventures are unlikely to yield highly effective vaccines for tuberculosis (TB), HIV or malaria. Many health experts have claimed that vaccines would eventually be developed to help stop these diseases, but the Duke University study seems to imply that’s not the case.
“What this tells us is that the current development pipeline is not likely to give us all the pieces to fight these diseases,” said Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy and director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health. “It underscores the need to substantially scale up resources and innovative development approaches to fill those gaps.”
The study 538 candidate products for 35 neglected diseases and estimated a cost and likelihood that any of the products would come to fruition. The major “global needs” vaccines failed to live up to the standard.
Yamey’s team used the tool to analyze candidate medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other technologies at various stages of development — from preclinical research to advanced clinical trials. To calculate the costs of developing these products, the team painstakingly classified each candidate into one of several development pathways. The model does not attempt to gauge the clinical value or utility of the launched innovations, only the costs incurred and the likelihood that a candidate will make it to the launch phase.