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Every year around the world, up to 4 million people are diagnosed with cholera, an acute diarrheal disease that’s usually spread through contaminated water in developing countries. In the long term, advances in water supply and sanitation are thought to be the ideal way to control the spread of the disease, but a handful of vaccines have also been developed—or are in development—to prevent cholera. Now, researchers have described, in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a standardized method to analyze the full costs for the implementation and delivery of cholera vaccines in low and middle income countries. The approach, they hope, will be a boon to programs planning or reviewing vaccination efforts. In the new work, Vittal Mogasale, of International Vaccine Institute, South Korea, and colleagues reviewed ten previous papers outlining cholera vaccine programs in low and middle income countries—those with a gross national income per capita of $4,035 or less. For each vaccine deployment, costs described in the previous papers were categorized into four groups: vaccination program preparation, vaccine administration, adverse events following immunization, and vaccine procurement. Within each group, costs for various subgroups were also tallied. The researchers presented overall vaccination program costs as the sum of all categories, and converted the numbers from local currencies to both 2014 US dollars and 2014 international dollars. The researchers found a wide variability in costs between different cholera vaccination efforts. Vaccine delivery costs—the sum of preparation, administration, and adverse event costs—ranged from US$0.36 to US$6.32 per person vaccinated, while the vaccine procurement costs ranged from US$0.29 to US$29.70. Costs were varied even between different efforts in the same country, they found. The scale of vaccination efforts only partially explained differences. The study, offering numbers for those outlining the budgets of future efforts, was limited by the fact that the categories were not standardized from the outset and so some budget items could have been misclassified. “Understanding the costs of cholera vaccination campaigns is of paramount importance in the economic evaluation as well as in planning future vaccination programs,” the researchers conclude. “The categories described herein allow for a clear, comparative understanding of vaccination campaign costs that can better describe decision-making.” CONTACT: Vittal Mogasale International Vaccine Institute Policy and Economic Research Center, Access Department SNU Research Park, San 4-8 Nakseongdae-dong Gwanak-gu Seoul , 08826, Republic of Korea +82 2 881 1379 vmogasale@ivi.int;vmogasale@gmail.com FUNDING: This work was conducted as part of the Delivering Oral Vaccine Effectively (DOVE) Initiative (https://www.stopcholera.org/), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (Grant CHJOH05064-010). The International Vaccine Institute received funding support from the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of Sweden. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. COMPETING INTERESTS: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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IVI GeneOne collaboration 3 photo: (left to right) Joel Maslow, Chief Medical Officer of GeneOne and Young K. Park, President and CEO of GeneOne, Phil Driver, IVI Deputy Director General of Finance & Operations, and In-Kyu Yoon, IVI Deputy Director General of Science at at the signing ceremony at IVI headquarters on Dec. 6, 2017. - Parties to collaborate in clinical development of GeneOne’s DNA-based MERS-CoV vaccine - Collaboration will accelerate vaccine development and ensure access for public health readiness in case of future outbreaks in Korea and worldwide SEOUL, KOREA, 6 December, 2016 - The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and GeneOne Life Science Inc. have agreed to collaborate in developing a vaccine against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The collaboration will accelerate MERS-CoV vaccine development so that a vaccine can be available in South Korea for emergency deployment in the event of a future outbreak. IVI and GeneOne held a signing ceremony at IVI headquarters at Seoul National University Research Park on December 6, 2016, where the two parties agreed to cooperate in MERS-CoV vaccine clinical development, and to ensure vaccine access to the Korean public health sector in case of an emergency and for public health programs. In attendance were IVI CFO Phil Driver, and GeneOne CEO Young K. Park. IVI and GeneOne plan to jointly conduct a clinical trial in Korea of GeneOne’s DNA-based MERS-CoV vaccine candidate called GLS-5300. IVI will provide support for the clinical trial and conduct other related activities including technical consultation and laboratory evaluations of immune response in trial participants at its Seoul-based laboratory facilities. GeneOne additionally signed an agreement to supply GeneOne’s MERS-CoV vaccine for use in potential emergencies and public health programs in Korea. To this end, IVI and GeneOne would collaborate to obtain the necessary approvals from the Korean regulatory and health authorities. Despite the continuing threat of epidemics from this zoonotic respiratory disease, there is currently no licensed vaccine or treatment for MERS-CoV. As of 2 December 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 1,841 MERS cases and 652 (35.4%) deaths worldwide since MERS-CoV was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, 27 countries have reported cases, including Korea where an outbreak took place in the summer of 2015 resulting in 186 cases and 38 deaths. GeneOne, a leading biotech company based in Korea, is developing the GLS-5300 DNA-based vaccine against MERS-CoV. GLS-5300 has been shown to prevent disease in pre-clinical animal studies. The vaccine is being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Silver Spring, Maryland, USA) to test for safety and immune response of the vaccine. Dr. Jerome Kim, IVI Director General said, “As an international organization devoted to vaccines for global public health, IVI looks forward to partnering with GeneOne, a Korean vaccine developer and manufacturer whose vaccine looks very promising among the candidates in the MERS-CoV vaccine development pipeline worldwide,” adding, “IVI will closely work with GeneOne to accelerate the development of a MERS-CoV vaccine to increase the public health readiness of Korea and the world to effectively respond to a potential MERS outbreak.” Young K. Park CEO of GeneOne said, “GeneOne Life Science has committed to the clinical development of its MERS-CoV vaccine in the shortest possible period of time. GeneOne is a Korean company that is at the forefront of vaccine development for emerging infectious diseases. During the outbreak of MERS-CoV in our country, GeneOne committed its resources to advance a vaccine for MERS-CoV. We are hoping to be able to confront this disease that has so devastated the lives of many. This collaboration with IVI will advance vaccine development for MERS-CoV and improve outbreak readiness for Korea and worldwide.” GeneOne is developing the GLS-5300 MERS-CoV DNA vaccine with Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and academic collaborators. The GLS-5300 vaccine was manufactured at GeneOne’s subsidiary VGXI, Inc. located in the Woodlands Texas, USA. . About IVI The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world’s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world’s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established in 1997, IVI operates as an independent international organization under a treaty signed by 35 countries and the World Health Organization. The Institute conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America on vaccines against enteric and diarrheal infections, Japanese encephalitis, MERS-CoV, and dengue fever, and develops new and improved vaccines at its headquarters in Seoul, Republic of Korea. For more information, please visit http://www.ivi.int. About GeneOne Life Science, Inc. GeneOne is an international company focused on finding gene-based solutions to clinical disease. GeneOne is at the forefront of DNA vaccine and DNA-based therapeutic development. GeneOne is currently spearheading clinical trials of vaccines for the Zika virus, MERS-CoV, Ebola and other infectious diseases. GeneOne has a rich pipeline of products targeting multiple cancers and diseases of man. GeneOne’s wholly-owned subsidiary VGXI, Inc. (www.vgxii.com) has 15 years of experience in the manufacture of DNA plasmid vaccines and therapeutics and has the distinction of making vaccines for Zika, MERS-CoV, and Ebola for use in human clinical trials. GeneOne is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. For more information, visit www.genels.com. Media Contact: IVI Tae Kyung Byun Senior Manager of Korean Communications, IVI Phone: +82-2-872-2801 (Ext. 159) Mobile: +82-10-8773-6071 Email: tkbyun@ivi.intGeneOne Life Science, Inc. James Kim General Manager Phone: +82-2-527-0609 Mobile: +82-10-6202-1396 Email: jikim@genels.com
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Author: Jerome Kim, MD, Director General of International Vaccine Institute Link to the original article For emerging diseases such as Zika and MERS, new vaccines, drugs, and diagnostic kits are critical. However, the development of new technologies for global health takes time, money and political commitment. To address this, Korea can introduce an innovative funding mechanism for R&D by establishing a private-public partnership similar to the Japanese ‘Global Health Innovation Technology Fund" (GHIT). With joint investment from the government, leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies and other investors, the fund can incentivize innovation in Korea’s growing biotechnology industry and harness Korean leadership for global health. Japan's GHIT is considered a great success. The fund was launched in 2013 through joint investment by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Gates Foundation and 5 Japanese companies. Initially the companies provided 25% of the funding, Gates 25% and the government 50%.  From 5 companies the number has now grown to 16. This year the Japanese government announced that it would add $130 million more to the fund, and GHIT has already invested more than $75 million in over 70 projects to develop drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. In Korea there are examples of successful public private partnerships.  Shin Poong, with funding from Gates and the Medicines for Malaria Venture developed a new drug against malaria. My organization, the International Vaccine Institute, with funding from Korea, Sweden, and the Gates Foundation developed a vaccine against cholera and transferred the manufacturing technology to EuBiologics, a Korean biotechnology company. EuBiologics signed a supply contract with UNICEF that could generate $118 million in exports.  EuBiologics recently supplied one million doses of cholera vaccine to Haiti prevent a major outbreak after Hurricane Matthew devastated the island.  A GHIT program would extend that model more broadly to diseases of global importance. Products developed by Korean GHIT would be, by design, of value to the global health.  It signals a commitment to the UN sustainable development goal in health.  It highlights Korean leadership as the incoming chair of the Global Health Security Agenda. Successful products would create new companies and new jobs -- and will give Korean universities, research institutes and companies an opportunity to apply innovation to the pressing problems of global health. A Korean GHIT could be the engine that turns ideas into health, and a robust, innovative biotechnology industry.

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