At the end of May, the Master of Global Health organized by ISGlobal and the University of Barcelona will host the 4th edition of Development and application of vaccines in global health. In this course, students and health professionals from around the world will join to learn about issues central to vaccine design, safety and implementation.
Vaccination and access to clean water are the two public health interventions which have been the most successful in reducing disease burden and mortality worldwide
Vaccination and access to clean water are the two public health interventions which have been the most successful in reducing disease burden and mortality worldwide. Today in most of the industrialized world, infectious diseases of children for which there are vaccines have practically disappeared. However, in many low income countries, diseases such as measles and pneumonia still kill too many children.
In 2017, what are some applications of vaccines in global health?
- International and country programs strive to maintain and expand coverage of existing vaccines in low-income countries. There is continuous innovation to design and implement control, elimination and eradication tools to protect children and adults against diseases such as polio, hepatitis B and pneumococcal infection.
- The creation of international agencies such as GAVI oversees access to essential immunization in low and middle-income countries which cannot afford to pay for the vaccines. The economics and pricing of vaccines are under constant scrutiny.
- Investigators in global health conduct research ranging from basic science to clinical trials in order to develop vaccines against emerging threats such as Ebola and Zika.
- There is innovation in biotechnologies to approach the design and testing of vaccines against deadly elusive diseases such as HIV, malaria or tuberculosis.
However, despite their effectiveness in saving lives, vaccines have become a victim of their success
However, despite their effectiveness in saving lives, vaccines have become a victim of their success. In industrialized countries today, most people younger than 50 years old have never seen a case of smallpox, polio or diphtheria. It has thus become more difficult to understand the importance of vaccination. This has fuelled anti-vaccine movements which must be taken into consideration to ensure community dialogues and understanding of the benefits of vaccines.
Participants who attend the six-day course will learn about vaccine development through in-class exercises, discussion and debates. Through group activities, the course will confront participants with real life situations that arise in the global world of vaccines. The course will include topics such as:
- How vaccines work at the individual and population level
- Steps for pre-clinical and clinical development of safe effective vaccines
- Challenges in implementing immunization programs
- Public awareness of vaccine safety
- Drivers and influences of global immunization policy
After the course, participants will leave with an understanding of the importance of vaccines for global health, but also how vaccines fit into reducing poverty and promoting social and economic development.