By Taylor Smith
Vaccines have played a central role in the fight against contagious diseases among human populations for the past 200 years. For instance, global vaccination initiatives have helped to eradicate smallpox and polio in all but the most remote populations. Even yearly influenza vaccines have greatly reduced the number of mortalities each year from the common flu, and childhood vaccines have made a major impact in lowering childhood and adult morbidity resulting from infectious diseases.
However, there are certain diseases that have eluded scientists and researchers. Specifically, malaria and HIV/AIDS have posed continual challenges as these diseases ravage parts of the world where vaccines are needed most. Distribution is actually a significant roadblock in the effectiveness of vaccine development and use. Many of the globe’s poorest regions lack the infrastructure to inoculate their own populations. In addition, ethical and religious reasons pose potential deterrents, giving rise to the resurfacing of historic diseases that the majority of the world is protected from.
Finally, cost has been known to undermine efforts in vaccine development. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “the cost of developing a vaccine — from research and discovery to product registration — is estimated to be between $200 million and $500 million per vaccine. This figure includes vaccines that are abandoned during the development process.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). more