Could a vaccine be a wonder of the world?

Feb 02, 2012


Eileen Quinn
Communications & Advocacy Director for PATH's Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access


It was just a conference room in Delhi, not the Taj Mahal by any means. No lapis lazuli or other luxuries. (Although many would consider the flush toilets, hot water, and soap in the bathrooms down the hall as luxuries).


Here scientists are going over the details of a clinical trial of a rotavirus vaccine under development. The discussions are very detailed, focusing on things like data management, lab analysis of virus serotypes, and statistical models. Everyone involved (the Indian company manufacturing the vaccine, government officials, international scientists, and PATH) is focused on making sure that the clinical trial will tell us with confidence whether this vaccine candidate will save lives.

What goes unsaid is why this matters so much. This group does not mention the death toll of diarrhea or the children who survive but suffer health and learning impairments for the rest of their lives, sabotaging their chances for succeeding in school and on the job. But that is the real reason for the meeting - not the statistics, lab samples, or data bases: the children whose can survive and thrive if this vaccine turns out to be effective.

Wouldn't that be a wonder of the world?

-- Eileen Quinn, Communications Director for the Vaccine Development program at PATH


Photo credit: PATH