04.27.16 By Sanofi Le Hub
Developing vaccines to protect the health of millions of people worldwide is one of the greatest achievements – and challenges – of modern science and medicine.
Health authorities and pharmaceutical companies are constantly working to improve the vaccine development and distribution process to meet the demand for immunization programs and to help ensure that we will one day live in a world where no one suffers from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines are used to immunize against more than 26 infectious diseases, including dengue fever, yellow fever, influenza virus and polio. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), they prevent more than 2 to 3 million deaths every year.
Identifying the need for a vaccine is the first step – in particular being able to recognize if a disease may become epidemic and finding a solution to offset potential outbreaks. It also means anticipating changes to existing diseases and adapting vaccines – for example, the influenza vaccine – to fight new virus strains.
This complicated process involves scientists and health authorities worldwide cooperating in the use of increasingly efficient detection tools that analyze health trends and scientific data to predict disease outbreaks before they occur.
In this context, the Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) serves as an essential instrument for the rapid and accurate dissemination of epidemiological information on cases and outbreaks of diseases under the International Health Regulations.
Research and scientific knowledge is key to the better understanding of diseases and viruses, and it’s these professional skills that drive the creation and development of vaccines.
However once the need for a new vaccine is identified, and research and development is underway, it’s important for pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi Pasteur to move quickly to bring the vaccine to market.
The investment in faster and more powerful technology has also led to shorter manufacturing and quality control cycles.
Scientific and technological advances have helped pharmaceutical companies to set up production on a larger scale.
A network of global, regional and local manufacturing and distribution sites is designed to provide maximum flexibility to ensure a quick response to public health concerns no matter where in the world they arise. To this end, Sanofi Pasteur’s affiliate Shantha Biotechnics, which is based in India, is now in charge of the manufacture of a new polio vaccine.
This international cooperation and local investment in infrastructure also ensures effective immunization programs can be implemented across borders – and in the most remote areas and in some of the world’s poorest communities – as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
It’s a complex and expensive journey, but Sanofi Pasteur’s ambition is a world in which no one suffers or dies from a vaccine preventable disease.
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