According to the World Health Organization, pneumococcal infections kill more than one million children each year, which is the same number that die from malaria. Most are infants and young children who die from pneumonia and meningitis. Immunizations are urgently needed because in many countries, up to 90 percent of pneumococcal strains are resistant to first-line antibiotics. Vaccines tailored to prevent the strains that are most prevalent in developing countries are in advanced stages of large-scale testing in Africa and Asia and should be available by 2006.
"In the past, life-saving vaccines have been slow to reach the children who need them the most. Nearly 15 years after Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine was introduced in the United States and other rich countries, less than 10 percent of the children in the world's poorest countries receive this vaccine," explained Orin Levine, PhD, an associate with the School's Department of International Health. "Our aim is to work with national and international partners to accelerate this process by 10 years or more," said Dr. Levine.
The Pneumococcal Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan (ADIP) team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, directed by Dr. Levine, will bring together experts from the public and private sectors. The team will coordinate efforts to address research, communications, supply, and financing issues that impede the uptake of the vaccine in developing countries. Establishing the burden of pneumococcal disease and the
Contact: Tim Parsons
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health