Universities Awarded $17.6 Million Grant for Cheaper Vaccines in Developing Countries

Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Three universities have received a $17.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and produce low-cost vaccines for developing countries.
Scientists from the University of Kansas (KU), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and University College London (UCL) are collaborating to standardize the development of new recombinant protein vaccines and produce them for less than 15 cents per dose.
By the end of the 5-year grant, vaccine supplies for phase 1 human clinical trials could be produced, according to the Kansas City Star.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 of 5 children worldwide does not receive routine vaccinations.
However, the investigators said that the solution is not just to produce more vaccines, but to also make vaccines that are more affordable and accessible.
“The key part of this effort is to ensure that vaccines remain stable during manufacturing, storage, transport, and administration to people in the developing world,” David Volkin, lead investigator for the research at KU, told the Kansas City Star.
According to health experts, vaccines save up to 3 million lives per year. Improvements in global vaccination coverage could help prevent 1.5 million additional deaths per year.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this team of world class academic researchers and to take on this grand challenge,” Volkin said in a KU press release. “Affordable and stable vaccines are a crucial element of disease prevention around the world. Delivered effectively, they save lives and can improve the health of entire populations.”

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