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Summer 2021 - Vaccines

Protecting Against Existing and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Emerging infectious diseases — those that have either never before been recognized or are re-emerging — represent one of the greatest threats to humanity.

Emerging infectious diseases — those that have either never before been recognized or are re-emerging — represent one of the greatest threats to humanity. The challenge in responding to these diseases is vaccines may not exist to prevent them, or if they do exist, people will resist them due to vaccine hesitancy, accessibility issues or lack of motivation to get vaccinated. While these issues have surfaced throughout history, during the last couple of decades and certainly during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the topic of vaccines has been at the forefront. 

Until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the worldwide population had not experienced such a deadly novel virus since the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the U.S. alone. Instead, viruses people might remember today are polio that struck in 1952 and HIV that appeared in 1984. Yet, as we explain in our article “Emerging Novel Viruses” (p.14), while there are some 320,000 viruses thought to be able to infect mammals, most do not pose a high risk to humans. Indeed, only 200 of the current 7,000 cataloged viruses are known to infect humans. At present, much is still unknown about viruses and the threat they pose, as the field of virology rapidly expands, researchers are in pursuit of greater understanding.

Thankfully, much has been discovered about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, which has been paramount in developing vaccines to prevent it. As we detail in our article “COVID-19 Vaccines: Where Are We Now?” (p.18), in just over a year, six vaccine candidates are most promising. Three of these have received emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and three others are awaiting clinical trial results. Only time will tell how long they will provide protection and at what level.

While COVID-19 vaccines dominate the headlines, many more new vaccines are in development for other existing infectious diseases. In our article “New Vaccines in Development” (p.26), we review the encouraging research to develop vaccines for urinary tract infections, tick-borne encephalitis, HIV, malaria, cancer and other maladies.

Perhaps most troubling is the recurrence of some childhood diseases due to vaccine resistance from parents. For decades, many myths have circulated about childhood vaccines, which we dispel in our article “Myths and Facts: Childhood Vaccines” (p.36). Fostered by qualms ranging from vaccine necessity to ingredients, side effects and autism, the resistance against vaccines has been met time and again with evidence that vaccinations far outweigh the dangers of the diseases they prevent. And, vaccination adherence includes observing the current recommended childhood vaccine schedule. In our article “Rethinking Childhood Vaccination Schedules” (p.32), we provide explanations for parental adherence to the recommended shot schedule versus the a-la-carte approach many are proposing.  

As always, we hope you enjoy this issue of BioSupply Trends Quarterly, and find it 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.