New WHO pipeline report on bacterial vaccines issued
Vaccines are powerful tools to prevent infections in the first place that could later on lead to AMR related health problems. As of July 2022, WHO has published a pipeline report summarising the status for bacterial vaccines currently under development. The report aims to guide investments and research into feasible vaccines with the potential to curb antimicrobial resistance.
WHO analysts conclude in their pipeline status report that a priority is to accelerate trials for AMR vaccines in late-stage development. They also pointed out the importance of maximising the use of already existing vaccines. In the report, 61 vaccine candidates were identified, including several late-stage candidates, to address WHO’s priority pathogen list for R&D. While the report describes late-stage candidates as having a high development feasibility, the report warns that most are not expected to be available anytime soon.
“Preventing infections using vaccination reduces the use of antibiotics, which is one of the main drivers of AMR. Yet of the top six bacterial pathogens responsible for deaths due to AMR, only one, Pneumococcal disease (Streptococcus pneumoniae) has a vaccine” said WHO Assistant Director-General, Antimicrobial Resistance, Dr Hanan Balkhy. “Affordable and equitable access to life-saving vaccines such as those against pneumococcus, are urgently needed to save lives, and mitigate the rise of AMR” she continued.
In the report, WHO authors call for equitable and global access to already existing vaccines, especially among populations that need them most in limited-resource settings.