Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Vaccines: Preventing Disease and Protecting Health

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Vaccines: Preventing Disease and Protecting Health

Article excerpt

2. Vaccines: preventing disease and protecting health Edited by Ciro A de Quadros. Published by Pan American Health Organization, Washington DC, 2004. Paperback 412pp. Price US$59.95 ISBN 92-75-11596-6-4

On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in November 2002, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) organized the Conference on Vaccines, Prevention and Public Health. The book contains contributions from all scientists who held lectures at this event.

Regarding the dramatically accelerated development in vaccine research within the last years caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the threat of bioterrorism and the spread of new infectious diseases in a globalized world, such as SARS, it is the right time to determine the starting point for future challenges in the field of vaccine research.

In clearly arranged and concise articles, which state of vaccine development and immunization programmes, are presented. First for infectious diseases already preventable, later for diseases which are in an advanced state in vaccine preparation, and finally for those which will hopefully be preventable in the future, notably HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The explanations of the various vaccine concepts need some basic immunological knowledge but in general they do not go extensively into technical details. The aim is always to describe the actual state of progress towards clinical use. There is a chapter about new technical concepts in immunization concerning mucosal acting vaccines, DNA-vaccines and new adjuvants to complete the overview of the scientific basics. However, most chapters have a clear public health focus.

This includes the close coordination of the activities of all players involved in the development and production of vaccines, such as academic institutions, the pharmaceutical industry, funding organizations, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. A major issue is the allocation of scarce resources for scientific activities. Appropriate strategies for financing and implementation of immunization programmes under development assistance for low income countries are just as indispensable as an intense international cooperation in setting safety standards for vaccines.

Some examples from the book can illustrate this: Currently about 30 different vaccine candidates against HIV/AIDS with a broad variety of vaccine paradigms are tested in phase 1 or phase 2 trials. …

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