The Sabin Vaccine Institute, a global health nonprofit working to enable vaccine development, has announced a three-year, $6.6 million grant from the Page Family Donor Advised Fund to accelerate the development of next-generation influenza vaccines and support related immunization efforts.
The grant will help fund a comprehensive advocacy approach to influenza that complements and galvanizes existing research. To that end, the institute will establish an Influenza Leadership Council comprising experts across sectors to identify novel approaches and communicate the urgent need for next-generation flu vaccines. Council members also will use their expertise and networks to support influenza advocacy work such as workshops and pandemic flu simulations designed to engage the public. In addition, the grant will support a partnership with the Aspen Institute's Health, Medicine and Society Program to establish the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Strategy Group, with a focus on influenza and other pressing domestic and global vaccine issues.
"Sabin will draw worldwide attention to the need for better flu vaccines and a vaccine to protect against strains that could cause the next influenza pandemic," said Bruce Gellin, Sabin's president of global immunization. "Promising research is already under way, but we know we need to do more to ensure that a so-called 'universal flu vaccine' is available before we need it. This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of the 1918 Spanish flu, which is estimated to have infected five hundred million people and killed some fifty million people, wiping out up to 5 percent of the world's population. A century later, we must not wait any longer to develop the next-generation flu vaccines that will eliminate the threat of a flu pandemic and seasonal flu."
(Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)