The International Vaccine Institute (IVI; Director General: Dr. John Clemens) has opened ´the International Advanced Course on Vaccinology in Asia Pacific Regions´ at its headquarters in Seoul on May 15.
The sixth annual program, designed to help countries expand their capacity in vaccine development, production and introduction has brought together approximately 90 public health professionals from 28 countries. These include 20 leading vaccine experts serving as faculty, including IVI Director General Dr. John D. Clemens; Dr. Martin Friede of the World Health Organization (WHO); Prof. Ian Gust, emeritus professor of the University of Melbourne; and Prof. Laura Rodrigues of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
This year´s course comes amid the lingering threat of a potential flu pandemic, with the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu having spread from Asia to Middle East, Europe and Africa. In view of this situation, the course seeks to help public health experts in developing countries in the region better prepare against potential epidemics caused by emerging viruses. Notably, Prof. Gust, a world authority in virology, will deliver a closing keynote lecture on Saturday, entitled, "The Future of Vaccines and Vaccination with Special Emphasis on Avian Flu and Other Pandemics".
The weeklong course focuses on the needs of scientists, public health officials and decision-makers involved in vaccine development and vaccination policies at the national and international levels. The course addresses a wide variety of disciplines, encompassing the entire vaccine continuum from discovery in the laboratory to vaccine evaluation, regulatory issues, production, introduction strategies and financing mechanisms.
As an example, Dr. Friede from the WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research will discuss the latest antigen and vaccine delivery systems. Other presenters will provide updates on the development of vaccines against malaria and dengue fever, for which no licensed vaccines yet exist.
Also to be covered this year are several key topics in the field of vaccines, including the regulatory environment in the Asia-Pacific regions, public perception towards vaccines, communication strategies, and decision-making processes for introducing new vaccines at the country level.
The course is designed as a series of lectures, case studies, and roundtable discussions to encourage active interaction between course participants and faculty.
The course is hosted by the IVI, which is a member of World Health Organization´s Global Training Network for Vaccine Production and Regulation. It is jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development of Korea, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
**What is IVI
The International Vaccine Institute is the world´s only international organization devoted exclusively to accelerated development and introduction of new vaccines for the poor. The Institute conducts field research programs to accelerate the use of new and underused vaccines in 21 developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and laboratory research programs to discover and develop new vaccines at its headquarters in Seoul. It also operates technical assistance programs for developing country vaccine manufacturers as well as training programs for scientists.