Annual Report & Newsletters

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DENGUE VACCINE INITIATIVE (DVI) IVI is the lead coordinating member of the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI), a consortium consisting of IVI, Johns Hopkins University, WHO, and Sabin Vaccine Institute, and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. DVI’s aim is to accelerate the development and introduction of new dengue vaccines, and is mainly involved in epidemiologic and socio-economic research to assess disease outcomes (e.g., morbidity and cost of illness), advocacy, and issues in policy and access, financing and regulatory. A series of meetings have been convened by DVI in Brazil and Thailand among policymakers and National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) of countries that have expressed interest in the early adoption of dengue vaccines. With support from the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), DVI is currently providing technical assistance and support to Vabiotech (Vietnam) and Instituto Butantan (Brazil) on the development of their dengue vaccine candidates. Disease burden studies, coordinated by IVI and local research partners, are ongoing in Thailand, Vietnam and Colombia. In addition, IVI has been preparing for the launch of dengue surveillance in at selected field sites in Africa. This should help determine the magnitude of dengue as a disease of public health importance in Africa. More information about DVI and its partners: www.denguevaccines.org
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IVI Acting Director General John Morahan and Lee Beom Soo.  Actor and IVI Goodwill Ambassador Lee Beom Soo Famous Korean Actor and IVI Goodwill Ambassador Lee Beom Soo made his first official visit to IVI for the signing ceremony and a quick lab tour. We look forward to working with Mr. Lee as our newest Goodwill Ambassador in promoting vaccines and IVI’s work around the world. Learn more about Lee Beom Soo here: https://ko-kr.facebook.com/cjesbumsoo
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IVI is running a photo contest, titled "Children of the World" The contest aims to promote the cultural diversity and universal values of childhood.It is open to anyone of any age. If you are interested, please read the information on the poster or website (http://iviphoto.org/eng).
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Partner Spotlight: Korea Support Committee for IVI (KSC) Established in 1998, KSC is an independent non-profit organization based in Seoul, South Korea that mobilizes local support for IVI. As IVI was the first International Organization to be hosted by Korea, many Koreans are committed to supporting IVI and its aim of fighting disease and poverty in the developing world through vaccines. KSC consists of about 70 prominent leaders from government, industry and academia in Korea who volunteer their time to support IVI. During the past three presidencies, the First Lady of Korea served as the Honorary President of KSC. Professor Cho Dong-sung, Emeritus Professor of Seoul National University, is the current President and Chair of the KSC Board of Trustees. For more information about KSC:http://www.ivisupport.or.kr (Korean only).
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  Choose Your World Every day we make a series of choices, what to eat? Where to go for our next coffee? These sorts of choices are part of our day to day routine. IVI recentiy launched the Choose Your World campaign to ask people to think about where their money goes and how a small deed can have a big effect. The campaign features a short film and a microsite in both English and Korean. Those interested in learning more about the campaign can visit the site at http://choose.ivi.int for English and http://kr-choose.ivi.int for Korean.
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This May marked the 14th year for the Annual Advanced Vaccinology Course at IVI. Over five days, participants were given presentations from experts in their fields and partook in a case-study. This year was one of our largest years as we welcomed over 100 speakers and participants from around the globe to receive a comprehensive overview of vaccines moving from epidemiology and immunology to development and delivery and concluding with use and acceptance. We look forward to next year and the 15th anniversary of the course. IVI would like to extend our gratitude to the speakers, coordinators, and participants for their help and hard work in making the course a success as well as give a special thank you to our sponsors GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Korea Exchange Bank Foundation, and Pfizer; with core support provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Korean Ministry of Education.
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  IVI staff Hyun Song Lee, Ju Yeon Park, Deok Ryun Kim, Thomas F. Wierzba, Yang Hee Kim and Ayan Dey with PROVIDE collaborators. PROVIDE Study - Performance of Rotavirus and Oral Poliovirus Vaccines in Developing Countries PROVIDE is a four-year study that started on November 2010 and is expected to complete in November 2014. This research study seeks to uncover possible answers to the question of why children in developing countries don’t respond as well to oral vaccines compared with children in developed countries by looking at the role of tropical enteropathy and children’s immune responses to oral vaccines. Tropical enteropathy is a disturbance in the intestinal lining that makes it difficult for the body to absorb what it needs from the things we eat and drink. The condition may be caused by repeated illnesses that affect the intestines and bowels, making them less able to function properly. Investigators at IVI, India’s National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), the University of Virginia, and the University of Vermont will see if there is a relationship between children with tropical enteropathy and those who do not respond well to the oral polio and rotavirus vaccines. The study will also determine whether breast milk has a role in the child’s response to vaccines; how a child’s nutritional status is related; and if some children may be more likely to develop tropical enteropathy due to genetic reasons. The study enrolled a total of 372 infants at six weeks of age from the B. C. Roy Children Hospital in Kolkata, India, out of which 50.7% were boys and 49.3% were girls. All of the infants, as part of their routine immunization, received the EPI vaccines and also received the oral rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix) through the PROVIDE study. For the polio vaccine, infants were randomized into two groups in which one group received the injectable polio vaccine (IPV) while the other group received the oral polio vaccine (OPV). Until now, there has been no extensive study to elucidate the factors responsible for vaccine failure in developing countries. The data generated from PROVIDE will provide proof for some of the hypotheses behind poor vaccine response. The data will also be used to develop a model to predict responses during vaccine efficacy studies.
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Ms.Yang Hee Kim (center) with local collaborators in Odisha, India. IVI and its collaborators in Odisha, India conducted a mass vaccination campaign with an oral cholera vaccine (OCV). Over 31,000 people received the vaccine through the campaign, which was conducted using Odisha’s public health infrastructure. The results of the campaign were published this February in PLOS NTD. We talked to Yang Hee Kim, IVI Associate Research Scientist, who worked on this project, to learn more about her experiences in Odisha Before we begin, could you please tell us a bit about yourself, your work at IVI, and how you became involved in the Odisha project? Yes, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea). I am in the Vaccine Development and Delivery Unit at IVI, where I have worked for the past three and a half years. I became involved in the Odisha project two months right after joining IVI. They needed someone with a public health background and with prior experience working with patients, and I had both. Even though I had never been to India before, I was very excited to participate in this project. What was the project about? The project was about delivering an oral cholera vaccine (OCV) in a public health setting. More often than not, vaccine studies are conducted in research settings, but this time it was different because we wanted to see if the OCV could be given in a “real life” situation. We call this a public health setting, because the vaccine is given under real-life conditions using the community’s own resources, like its own community health workers and its own government structure. Over 31,000 people from a rural, resource-limited community were vaccinated. Why conduct the study in Odisha? And where exactly is Odisha? We worked in Odisha because communities there were identified at a high risk of cholera during the rainy season. In fact, it was during a meeting among Indian policymakers in 2009 that several stakeholders recommended introducing the OCV there. Odisha is in the northeastern part of India, on the coast and adjacent to the Bay of Bengal. To get there from South Korea, I had to fly from Seoul to Singapore and then to Delhi or Kolkata, as there are no direct flights. Once at Odisha airport, I took a 1.5 - 3 hour bus ride to the city of Puri, where we conducted the work. Can you tell us more about the team that you worked with in Odisha? The IVI project team was a very diverse group of people; I believe we were five Koreans, three Nepalese, one Bangladeshi, and one Indian. Not all of us were there at the same time; we took turns over a two-year period. We also worked with a lot of local people. Some of them were very young and enthusiastic people in their twenties who worked for the Regional Medical Research Center in Bhuvaneswar, Odisha. They were our main connection with Odisha’s community health workers. Overall it was a very good team! You seem very happy when you talk about your team. What made your team so good to work with? We were all very enthusiastic about conducting our work. Field work can be very hard so enthusiasm is key. I remember temperatures were very high during the vaccination days, sometimes as high as 43 degrees, and we did not have an air conditioner in our office! It was very humid and there was a lot to do. In some villages, a lot of people were queuing to receive the vaccine. Sometimes we could not even stop for lunch because there were so many people queuing, and we did not want to make them wait in the hot and humid weather. But there were fun times too. At the end of the vaccination, our team celebrated with local food and drinks. What was your favorite food whilst working in Odisha? There were so many! My favorite dish was Vindi Massala. What was the most difficult challenge you encountered in Odisha? Well, the initial challenge was that before Odisha I had no experience working in developing countries. I had to adjust very quickly! A second challenge was the language barrier. I had to work with interpreters as local people speak Oriya and not English. Perhaps a third challenge was that our team didn’t know what to expect before my trip there. We were initially concerned that, being Korean, I may look too different and that this would discourage local people from trusting us or from participating in the mass vaccination. But when I worked in the villages, the local people were very friendly, and they approached us and talked to us. I didn’t understand what they were saying but they were friendly and smiling. Some of them even asked to take photos of us with their cell phones! Is there anything you would like to convey to our donors or to our audiences? First, I would like to thank all of the donors (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Governments of South Korea, Kuwait and Sweden, and the Korea Racing Authority) for their support. Even though it is not a typical clinical trial that we usually have conducted, I think it is important to realize that this type of study is very important because we identify operational challenges associated with the introduction of a ‘new’ vaccine in the community. Based on our experience, we recommended the use of a controlled temperature chain during vaccine delivery, which has become an important agenda for delivery of the cholera vaccine in other settings around the world. Another recommendation is a simpler presentation of the vaccine to make it easier to administer. This was our first experience on the use of this vaccine using the public health infrastructure. I would like to request donors to continue supporting this type of project. What is next? What happens to the Odisha project now? Well, after the vaccination, we got funding from the Thrasher Foundation to conduct a vaccine effectiveness study, which is nearly in its final stage. Also, after successful completion of this campaign, the Odisha government is planning to use this vaccine in other more remote areas targeting the tribal communities that are at risk of cholera.