150 top scientists debate and offer expert advice on cutting edge vaccine research

More than 150 top scientists, researchers and public health experts from around the world will meet in Switzerland next week to present, debate and offer expert advice on cutting edge vaccine research and development, as well as vaccine policy and implementation.

Scientists are striving to tackle many old and newly emerging infectious diseases by developing new vaccines and improving technologies and tools.  New manufacturers of vaccine are playing an ever-increasing role in the production of sufficient vaccines to immunize the world's children.

Immunization stands out as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, saving millions of lives. Smallpox was eradicated in 1979; polio, once a global epidemic, will soon be eradicated; neonatal tetanus has been eliminated from many countries; and measles deaths have decreased by 30% globally since 1999.

Among the issues that will be covered in the Global Vaccine Research Forum (7-10 June 2004) are:

  • SARS: The needs for a public health response in case of a resurgence, the status of development of vaccines in China, the United States and   Europe, and the extent to which such vaccines could boost the response of the immune system;
  • Influenza: The modelling of a potential pandemic, the H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in 2004 and international response, the development of several vaccines and the industry perspective;
  • Measles and Rubella: The potential advantages of aerosol and jet- injector delivery of vaccine in mass vaccination campaigns and safety   issues under consideration;
  • Meningitis: Enhanced surveillance in Africa (where over 250 million people in the "meningitis belt" from Ethiopia to Senegal are at risk of contracting meningococcal meningitis) and research and development of vaccines in India and industrialized countries;
  • New vaccines for old bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, which is among the common causes of the dangerous presence of bacteria in the blood (bacteraemia);
  • Vaccine manufacturing in developing countries; and
  • The state of progress towards vaccines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

WHAT: The Global Vaccine Research Forum

WHO: Top vaccine researchers, scientists and public health experts from around the world. The meeting is sponsored by the World Health Organization's Initiative for Vaccine Research and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

The WHO Initiative's mission is to guide, provide vision, enable, support and facilitate the development, clinical evaluation and worldwide access to safe, effective and    affordable vaccines against infectious diseases of public health importance, especially in developing countries. The WHO strategy for the research and development of new vaccines will be presented at the Forum.

WHEN:  7-10 June 2004

WHERE:Montreux, Switzerland; Royal Plaza Hotel; Grand-Rue, 97; http://www.royalplaza.ch

For further information, please contact: Melinda Henry, Information Officer, Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, World Health Organization, Geneva   Tel: +41-22-791-2535 Fax: +41-22-791-4227 Email: [email protected]

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