A national vision and leadership are fundamental requirements for the sustainability of vaccine development and production in Australia, according to Burnet Institute Senior Principal Research Fellow (Honorary), Professor Allan Saul.
In an editorial published in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Saul welcomed the recent announcement that Moderna that will produce mRNA vaccines in Victoria from as early as 2024.
But he said vision and leadership in this field must be prioritised to ensure Australia is better prepared for the next global pandemic.
“In order to have a vaccine industry in Australia able to meet occasional and unpredictable demands for rapid development of a new pandemic vaccine, there needs to be a sustainable ongoing program of vaccine development and production,” Professor Saul told InSight+.
“There is certainly momentum coming from the COVID-19 experience, but it will need more than that,” he added.
“It will need vision and leadership on a national scale as to what could be achieved, then a well-developed business case that takes into account the total value of vaccines and other public health interventions, and then, based on that, a prioritisation at the federal and state levels.”
Professor Saul said the biggest advances in vaccine technology had been driven by trying to develop vaccines for high burden diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
“Work on major public health vaccines that could sustain pandemic preparedness underpins development of more commercially important vaccines,” Professor Saul said.
Professor Saul noted that aside from COVID-19, there are about 10 million deaths from infectious diseases globally each year, including five million from diseases for which there are no registered vaccines.
Of the remainder, many are deaths for which existing registered vaccines are not suited for the target population, such as tuberculosis and malaria, he said.
Click here to read the MJA Insight article in full.