Scientists launch the Foundation for Vaccine Research

To advocate and campaign for increased funding for vaccine research against infectious diseases

A new organisation to advance and accelerate vaccine research and development against infectious diseases has been established.

Fourteen leading multinational scientists and advocacy experts in vaccines have formed the Foundation for Vaccine Research, which will be headquartered in Washington, DC, US.

The Foundation's mission is to raise global awareness of the need for increased, long-term funding for vaccine research against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases, including neglected tropical diseases, as well as universal vaccines for influenza and a vaccine to avert pandemic influenza.

The Foundation's activities will focus on persuading opinion leaders, policymakers inside and outside government, and other decision makers of the benefits and safety of vaccines and the merits of increased investment in vaccine research. It will also conduct fundraising events and benefit concerts, with all publicly donated funds going directly to teams of scientists and their institutions.

‘The science and the technology are there to develop life-saving vaccines for the most challenging infectious diseases,’ said founding board director of the Foundation for Vaccine Research, Dr Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine.

‘However, the resources are not – and, when they are, they tend to come in bursts. Scientists everywhere need long-term, predictable funding in order to pursue new ideas and promising lines of research without worrying about paying next month's rent.’

Founding board director Professor Mauro Schechter of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, added: ‘Vaccines are most needed for infectious diseases that are ravaging developing countries, where financial incentives for vaccine companies practically do not exist.

‘I hope that the creation of the Foundation will galvanise efforts to create innovative financing mechanisms and other incentives that will expedite vaccine research and development, particularly for HIV, TB, and malaria, in developing and developed countries.’