A new study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) presents important information to help the research community set domestic vaccine priorities for the future. "Vaccines for the 21st Century: A Tool for Decisionmaking," commissioned by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), employs a new quantitative model to compare the cost and health benefits of developing more than two dozen different candidate vaccines, including, for the first time, therapeutic vaccines against chronic diseases.
Based on this analysis, the report divides 26 candidate vaccines into four groups, from most to least favorable for development (see page 4). But the IOM report stresses that this ranking is not a recommendation about which candidate vaccines should be developed. Rather, it provides a framework to consider along with other key factors such as technical feasibility and public health urgency when making decisions about vaccine research and development.
"We expect that the NIH and other policy makers in government, academia and industry will find this report and the model it proposes to be extremely valuable tools for guiding vaccine research priority-setting," comments Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID. Anyone with a computer and spreadsheet software will be able to access the model from the IOM free-of-charge and adapt it to other conditions or candidate vaccines.
NIAID - the major supporter of vaccine research nationwide - requested the report in 1995 as a follow-up to two IOM reports issued a decade earlier. A 1985 report focused on priorities for vaccine development in the United States, and a second report, published in 1986, focused on vaccine development in developing countries.
Like the 1985 project, the new report considers only health conditions of public
health importance in the United States, except HIV/AIDS, which already is a
national priority. However, the new report differs in two significant ways from
Contact: Laurie K. Doepel
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases