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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid