News / Health

Study Reveals Need to Tailor Vaccines to Developing World

Child receives a polio vaccine in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 16, 2012.Child receives a polio vaccine in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 16, 2012.
x
Child receives a polio vaccine in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 16, 2012.
Child receives a polio vaccine in Islamabad, Pakistan, Oct. 16, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
— The research arm of Doctors Without Borders reports vaccines created for industrialized countries are not being adapted for use in the developing world, meaning that millions of children born each year could be receiving less-effective vaccines, or missing out on the basic vaccination package.
 
The results of a new study by Epicentre, the research division of Doctors Without Borders, have added to what the group calls a “growing body of evidence” that vaccines may not be one-size-fits-all.

Rebecca Grais, director of Epidemiology and Population Health at Epicentre, says vaccines against life-threatening diseases must be modified for use in Africa if they are to protect children.

"We want to make sure that the living vaccine and the vaccines that we do have are both adapted to the population where we are working, in presentation and composition, and we want them to be as easy to use as possible for both the mother and for the health infrastructure," she said.

Many areas in Africa don't have access to adequate refrigeration or electricity to keep vaccines stored at proper temperatures. Bad roads and other logistical issues make getting the vaccines out to communities a challenge. And the vaccines are not always easy to use or administer in proper doses.
 
Grais said these factors must all be taken into consideration during the development and testing phases of a vaccine.

She and her team spent two years looking at the incidence of diarrhea among more than 10,000 children under the age of five in Niger. Diarrhea is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Africa and is often caused by an infection known as rotavirus.

Epicentre says the two available vaccines for rotavirus were developed and tested in industrialized countries where they have been found to be 90 percent effective. However, those same vaccines are estimated to be only 50 to 60 percent effective when used in Africa and Asia.

"There’s been great success in the U.S. and Europe with, in particular, two currently available rotavirus vaccines," said Grais.  "We've seen a great decline in the incidence of rotavirus and of course subsequently severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, which may lead to death, and so this has been a success.  So the question is: how can we use these vaccines in the best way in the areas of the world with the highest diarrheal burden, which is sub-Saharan Africa?"
 
Grais said that while their study focused on the rotavirus vaccine, its findings are relevant to vaccinations in general.

Epicentre has launched two additional studies looking at alternative methods to deliver tetanus vaccine in Chad and the vaccine for pneumococcal disease in Uganda.

Researchers hope the findings will further convince pharmaceutical companies that they need to tailor vaccines to the challenges of the developing world.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid