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Summer 2024 - Vaccines

Increasing Vaccine Development Provides Hope, Despite Resistance

It’s alarming that despite vaccines’ proven success, some 40,000 to 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Even diseases that were once-eradicated are making a comeback.

Patrick M. SchmidtIT’S ALARMING that despite vaccines’ proven success, some 40,000 to 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Even diseases that were once-eradicated are making a comeback. A disturbing example of this is measles, which was eradicated in the U.S. in 2000 due to the protective effects of the measles vaccine that was developed in 1963. As of this writing, there have been [121] cases of measles in 2024 alone. So, what’s causing the spate of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks? It’s certainly not the fault of research that provides ample evidence of vaccines’ safety and effacy or of the vaccine manufacturers that are doing their part to improve upon existing vaccines, as well as develop novel ones for existing and merging infectious diseases. Instead, it’s likely due to two factors: 1) Many Americans simply don’t understand how important vaccination is, since many diseases are becoming very rare largely because of vaccination, and 2) mistrust among a growing proportion of the public is causing an uptick in anti-vaccine rhetoric. 

The historic success of vaccines can’t be denied. We highlight some of the major diseases that have been eradicated or nearly eradicated as a result of vaccines in our article “Viruses, Variants and Vaccines: Staying Ahead of the Spread” (p.22). We also delve into the different vaccine technologies, including recombinant protein, viral vector, mRNA and DNA, that are critical for stopping the spread of a host of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B virus, human papillomavirus, pertussis, influenza, COVID-19, malaria, Lyme disease, cytomegalovirus, Zika, dengue, typhoid and more. Research into vaccines using these technologies is providing hope in the face of ever-evolving threats.

The most recent threat, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, continues to mutate, evading protection even from existing COVID-19 vaccines. Fortunately, even though the pandemic is officially declared “over” in the U.S., three of the top-10 global vaccine manufacturers are continuing their efforts to protect people from the virus mutations. We take a look at what COVID-19 vaccines are currently available, as well as what these manufacturers are developing in our article “COVID Vaccines: What’s Available and What’s in the Works” (p.28). Not only are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax all working to tailor their current COVID vaccines to protect against mutations, but their efforts are also focused on developing next-generation and combination vaccines, including a refrigerator-stable vaccine and a vaccine that will protect against both COVID and influenza.

It can only be hoped that the majority of Americans will embrace these and other vaccines, including the new respiratory syncytial virus vaccines to protect older adults, that we discuss in our article “The Protective Value of RSV Vaccines in Older Adults: A Deeper Dive” (p.50). But that can only be achieved by countering the arguments made by anti-vaxxers that erode public trust in vaccines. We explore the growing political ideology of the anti-vaccine movement in our article “The Anti-Vaccine Movement: Where Are We Now?” (p.32), as well as how it affects herd immunity and how it can be addressed.

As always, we hope you enjoy the additional articles in this issue of BioSupply Trends Quarterly, and find them both relevant and helpful to your practice. 

Helping Healthcare Care,

Patrick M. Schmidt


Patrick M. Schmidt
Patrick M. Schmidt is the publisher of BioSupply Trends Quarterly magazine.