Vaccines, one of the most useful and cost-effective means of reducing illness and death from infectious diseases, are enjoying a resurgence of interest that some have pronounced a renaissance. With hundreds of vaccines in research and development worldwide, vaccines are among the fastest growing segments of the biopharmaceutical market today.
The interest in vaccines is fuelled by a variety of factors. Among them: the impact of globalisation, technological advances in biotechnology, post 9/11 concerns about biological warfare, the emergence and reemergence of diseases such as West Nile Virus and tuberculosis, and scientists’ pursuit of new vaccine targets such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Another key contributor is the recognition by principal vaccine purchasers -- healthcare providers and governments, whose ranks have swollen to include those of emerging markets such as China and India -- of the ability of vaccines to reduce healthcare expenditures and increase quality of life through disease prevention.