WHO forecasts vaccines to double

The number of vaccines available to prevent diseases is likely to double from the current 20 in the next decade, the World Health Organisation revealed this week.

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By  Stuart Qualtrough Published  June 16, 2005

The number of vaccines available to prevent diseases is likely to double from the current 20 in the next decade, the World Health Organisation revealed this week. New vaccines are being developed against a range of often deadly infectious diseases - including meningitis, malaria and cervical cancer - following recent scientific breakthroughs. That has revived interest in the sector, with major vaccine makers like GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Sanofi-Aventis and Merck & Co Inc all highlighting the potential of their new or experimental products. But Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, head of vaccine research for the global health body, said the world needed to do more to ensure these novel preventative treatments reached people in need in the developing world. "These are exciting times in vaccine development. Several new products will soon be available that together could protect millions of lives from disease," she told a conference in Brazil. "However, experience has shown that the uptake of new vaccines is extremely slow. We urgently must find solutions to deliver these powerful and proven health tools to all people at risk." Obstacles to delivering vaccines to people in need were scientific, financial, technical and regulatory, she said.

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