The International Vaccine Institute, the only international organization devoted to vaccine research for the developing world, started its annual vaccinology training course for experts to help countries strengthen their capacity in vaccine science and technology at its headquarters in Seoul on May 9.
More than 40 vaccine scientists and public health officials from some 20 countries attend "the Fifth International Advanced Course on Vaccinology in Asia Pacific Regions." The training program is guided by about 20 leading vaccine experts, including IVI Director Dr. John D. Clemens; Prof. Ian Gust, emeritus professor of the University of Melbourne and a world authority in virology; Prof. Hiroshi Kiyono, Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of Tokyo and a world leader in mucosal immunology; as well as officials from the World Health Organization and industry.
The weeklong training program is designed specifically for scientists, public health officials and decision-makers involved in vaccine development, and vaccination strategies at the national and international levels.
The course seeks to provide participants with a comprehensive overview of the vaccine continuum, from vaccine development, evaluation and regulatory principles, to production, introduction and policy issues. It covers basics of epidemiology and immunology, and latest vaccine technology and delivery systems, as well as vaccine economics, and ethical issues.
The IVI is the world´s only international research organization devoted exclusively to the development and accelerated introduction of new and improved vaccines for the poor, and is a member of the WHO Global Training Network for Vaccine Production and Regulation.
"The IVI aims to become a global vaccinology center, banking on our unique translational field research backed by cutting-edge laboratory sciences," Dr. Clemens said. "In this light, the IVI vaccinology course has built up worldwide reputation for its excellence in training during the past four years." This year´s course has drawn participants from Brazil and Mozambique, as well as Asia-Pacific nations such as Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Singapore, he noted.
The course is hosted jointly by the IVI and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development of Korea, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Established in 1997 as an initiative of the United Nations Development Program, the IVI conducts field research programs in 21 developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. With some 100 staff members, the institute also carries out laboratory research to develop new vaccines, and operates technical assistance programs for developing country vaccine manufacturers, and scientist training programs.