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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid