IVI and Colombia
The President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Iván Duque Márquez, paid an official visit to IVI headquarters in Seoul during his state visit to the Republic of Korea. The delegation from Colombia included Madame María Juliana Ruiz, First Lady, His Excellency Fernando Ruiz, Minister of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, and His Excellency Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero, Ambassador of Colombia to the Republic of Korea.
During the visit, President Duque delivered a letter of intention to IVI Director General Jerome Kim for Colombia to become an IVI member state. Subsequently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia and IVI to explore opportunities for future collaboration and knowledge sharing in the areas of capacity building, infectious disease research, epidemiology, and vaccine research and development.
President Duque made an address at IVI, stating “IVI is an institution that saves lives. We acknowledge that in these difficult times we are facing in history, there must be more cooperation and equality in distributing vaccines around the world. Becoming a member of IVI is a must for a country like Colombia. And it is a must not only to face the challenges of COVID-19, but to be able to develop vaccines and distribute vaccines for common illness we face on a regular basis.”
IVI’s Global Chikungunya vaccine Clinical Development Program (GCCDP) is advancing the clinical development of Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s (BBIL) Chikungunya vaccine candidate (BBV87) through a Phase II/III randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a 2-dose regimen of BBV87 Chikungunya vaccine in healthy adults at 9 clinical trial sites across 5 countries with endemic Chikungunya. GCCDP is in partnership with BBIL and funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) with support from the Ind-CEPI mission of the Department of Biotechnology, India.
GCCDP seeks to develop and manufacture an affordable Chikungunya vaccine with the aim of achieving WHO prequalification to enable its distribution in low- and middle-income countries, consistent with CEPI’s core commitment to equitable access, affordability and sustainability. As needed, CEPI or BBIL may propose a third-party for manufacturing of a stockpile of investigational product to be used for further clinical trials in outbreak conditions to advance vaccine development, or pursuant to an emergency use authorization in emergency situations based on national or international guidance (such as by the WHO).
IVI partnered with Fundación Universidad del Norte and Universidad del Valle in Colombia to form ZikaPLAN (Zika Preparedness Latin American Network), a consortium which works to prevent the spread of Zika virus by developing a better understanding of the disease and building a sustainable preparedness and response capacity in Latin America.
IVI established two consortiums to implement its dengue vaccine efforts- the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI) and the subsequent Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI). PDVI and DVI worked closely with partners in Colombia in the following areas:
Dengue Disease Surveillance and Economic Impact Studies
DVI sponsored the dengue surveillance studies of Colombia’s Dr. Jorge Osorio in the endemic area of Medellin, Colombia and provided funding for the development of a field site to study the disease and transmission factors. This work provided important information on the natural history of dengue, such as evolution of circulating viruses, clinical characterization of the disease and the economic burden of the disease. The studies in Colombia informed the development of a statistical and mathematical model for understanding the vectors of dengue transmission and the potential impact of dengue vaccine immunization.
As part of DVI’s dengue surveillance in Colombia and Thailand, IVI’s Policy and Economic Research team conducted healthcare utilization surveys, household surveys, and cost of illness surveys to estimate the economic burden of dengue patients and the household demand for dengue vaccines. The results suggested that a private market for dengue vaccines exists in Colombia, Thailand, and Vietnam and that sales may be robust if vaccine prices are low enough.
International Cooperation on Dengue Research
In 2015, DVI convened the Americas Dengue Prevention Board at the Colombian National Health Institute (Instituto Nacional de Salud de Colombia – INS) with scientists, global health experts, mathematicians, and representatives of dengue vaccine manufacturers to discuss updates in dengue vaccines and vaccine introduction. The meeting was instrumental given the new available clinical trial data, particularly the results of the first Phase III trials ever completed for a dengue vaccine candidate. These results demonstrated that a safe and effective dengue vaccine is feasible.
In 2013, DVI hosted a number of meetings between dengue vaccine developers and the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Thailand to share perspectives on vaccine licensure and the introduction of dengue vaccine into their national immunization programs. The NRAs of the attending countries agreed to explore join evaluations of vaccine candidates, the sharing of epidemiological data, and the establishment of contacts between their respective Ministries of Health.
In 2012, PDVI sponsored the meeting of the Pan American Dengue Research Network in Cartagena, Colombia and provided funding to support the participation of young scientists. Chaired by Dr. Jorge Osorio of the Universidad de Antioquia, the meeting brought together 219 scientists from 22 countries and presented progress updates on all of the dengue vaccines in clinical testing at that time and surveillance studies on dengue infection in Colombia, Nicaragua, and Peru.