Delivering a Dengue vaccine: a WHO initiative helps lay the groundwork for Dengue vaccine introduction

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In addition to developing sound evidence for informed decision-making, DVI (Dengue Vaccine Initiative) is striving to conduct policy and access related activities to create an enabling environment for the introduction of a future dengue vaccine. The World Health Organization’s Initiative for Vaccine Research (WHO IVR) is one of the DVI consortium members working towards this objective. Originally designed by the WHO and UNAIDS, the initiative is positioned within the Family and Community Health Cluster at the WHO. The unit’s mission is to accelerate the development and optimal use of safe and effective vaccines and technologies, especially in developing countries. The WHO IVR has expertise in the field of product R&D, vaccine manufacturing and regulation, vaccine clinical trial, vaccine introduction and cost-effectiveness analysis.

WHO IVR’s primary function within DVI is to lead the development of information and guidance documents, and in regulatory training activities. WHO IVR is currently preparing an information session on a dengue vaccine for the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization. SAGE advises the WHO on overall global policies and strategies. The information session regarding a dengue vaccine will pave the way for the development of a framework for an eventual SAGE deliberation. This will lead to the publication of a WHO Position Paper on dengue vaccines. A WHO Position Paper would substantially legitimize the call to include dengue vaccines in public vaccination programs.

Other key activities include designing a guide on the safety monitoring and post licensure evaluation of the new dengue vaccine. In conjunction with IVAC (last week’s DVI consortium member), WHO IVR will support regulatory preparedness in countries hosting dengue clinical trials and countries likely to quickly adopt the vaccine.

Given its extensive infrastructure and network of engagement with ministries of health and national immunization programs, the WHO and its Regional Offices maintain the ability to raise visibility of dengue on global, regional and country levels. This unprecedented influence will be essential to guaranteeing that the world’s most vulnerable populations have access to a future dengue vaccine.

Sabin Vaccine Institute

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