SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2016

Scientists report as many as 20 new vaccines could be coming in the next decade

A group of scientists writing in The Lancet report that the development of 20 new or improved vaccines in the next decade is possible and that funding along with trust and confidence in vaccines is crucial.

The key areas the scientists identify for their research is AIDS and malaria vaccines, but they also mention the investigation of neglected tropical diseases like leprosy, the BBC reports.

Professor Richard Moxon of Oxford University came up with the idea to create a series of papers looking at the future of vaccine research.

"We need to find the requisite funds for the research and development of about 20 improved or novel vaccines in the next decade or beyond,” the scientists wrote, according to the BBC. “This call to action comes at a crucial time. In some communities, recent declines in vaccine uptake provide a stark reminder that public confidence and trust in immunization is fragile and requires attention."

Moxon said that it is sometimes surprising that the public is not always comfortable with immunization, despite a very positive history of effectiveness.

"It's complex," Moxon said, according to the BBC. "Perhaps one of the things that's most important is that vaccines are given to healthy people - often children. Safety issues loom very large because there's very little awareness of many of the diseases that have been prevented by vaccines, such as polio and whooping cough.

The authors called on developing countries to shoulder more responsibility for funding vaccination programs. An effort will be made during a meeting on Monday to raise money for immunization programs over the next four years.

"Most developing countries accord too low a priority to health in their budgets,” the authors wrote, according to the BBC. "They must be persuaded to take more of the burden themselves on behalf of their poorer citizens."