Anne McLellan moderated a discussion on The Race to Find A Vaccine for The Recovery Project with Dr. Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of CIFAR and founding head of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and Dr. Shabir Madhi, professor of Vaccinology at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg and co-founder and co-director of the African Leadership Initiative for Vaccinology Expertise. Key points of the discussion included:
- There are approximately ~150 vaccine projects underway somewhere in the world. There are only four in Phase III clinical trials, although these numbers change on almost a weekly basis.
- Manufacturing capacity will be an issue with billions of doses needed, especially if a 2-dose vaccine(s) is found to be the most efficacious. There is no manufacturing capacity in many parts of the world and developed and developing nations will need to work together for fair distribution. Canada currently has little manufacturing capacity, although governments are trying to change that situation.
- Distribution of any approved vaccine will also be a challenge, especially in developing nations, where basic arrangements such as refrigeration are non-existent or sporadic. The more advanced a nation's health care system the better the chances of wide-spread successful distribution of a vaccine.