The key to successful vaccination lies within a specialised chain of events, beginning with the identification of a public health need, and ending in an effective and affordable vaccine accessible by those most in need of it. In between these milestones lies a complex set of highly skilled practical and administrative steps, governed by constantly-evolving regulatory frameworks, all of which are ultimately defined by the need for significant financial and technical resources. It is within this ecosystem of events that vaccine scientists must address a huge number of technical, regulatory and financial challenges.
upporting and uniting these scientists for the benefit of Europe and its citizens is the focus of the EU-funded project TRANSVAC. In its first funding period, which commenced in 2009 and was completed in 2013, TRANSVAC made a significant contribution to the support of individual European scientific groups through the provision of state-of-the-art vaccine experimental services, technical training, and innovative vaccine research and development (R&D). Some 50 vaccine candidates in 29 vaccine projects were accelerated by TRANSVAC, and many continue to this day along the pathway towards licensure.
Furthermore, over thirty scientists received specialised training on numerous aspects of vaccine development, being provided with a thorough overview of the full vaccine development process, and more than twenty innovative scientific papers were published from TRANSVAC’s research and activities (for more information see also tables below and: Geels, M. et al (2015): TRANSVAC research infrastructure – Results and lessons learned from the European network of vaccine research and development. Vaccine 33, 5481-5487. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.01.079).
Another significant achievement of TRANSVAC in its first funding period was to develop a roadmap to define a coherent and strategy-led approach to address the existing fragmentation of European vaccine development, based on the unification of leading European vaccine experts, so as to establish a “European vaccine R&D infrastructure”. In order to address the fragmentation of vaccine R&D in Europe, transnational cooperation between existing organisations from the public and private sectors was deemed to be essential, and the establishment of a European vaccine R&D infrastructure agreed to be a critically important step. Additional confirmation for the need to establish a European vaccine infrastructure came from the infrastructure needs analysis that was performed as part of the “Innovation Partnership for a Roadmap on Vaccines in Europe” (IPROVE), resulting in a European vaccine roadmap (launched in March 2016).
This European vaccine R&D infrastructure need is met by the continuation of TRANSVAC, with the aim of establishing a sustainable European vaccine R&D infrastructure.