Vaccines In Development

Many of us have heard the myth that there are “300 new vaccines in the pipeline.”

It takes a long time to develop a new vaccine.
It takes a long time to develop a new vaccine.

Of course, no one really believes that means scientists are out there developing vaccines against 300 separate diseases or that it will mean that kids will some day get 300 more vaccines.

Vaccines In Development

So what does it mean?

Surprisingly, it doesn’t even mean 300 new vaccines are in the pipeline anymore. The latest, 2016 update of the Medicines in Development for Vaccines report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America now states that there are “More Than 250 Vaccines in Development Pipeline.”

To understand what that means, you have to take a look at the vaccines being developed, which include:

  • 124 for infectious diseases
  • 105 for cancers
  • thirteen for allergies
  • eight for neurological disorders
  • seven for other conditions

And even of the 124 vaccines in development or testing for infectious diseases:

  • 36 are to prevent or treat HIV
  • 25 are to prevent influenza, including new nasal flu vaccines
  • 8 are for RSV
  • 8 are for Ebola

So when they talk about “300 vaccines in the pipeline,” remember that even when you consider that only 124 of them are for infectious diseases, of those, 77 are for just 4 different infectious diseases.

The other 47 vaccines in various stages of development include vaccines for CMV, tuberculosis, dengue, Zika, GBS, West Nile virus, Staph, herpes, hepatitis C, E. coli, pseudomonas, malaria, C. diff infections, Shigella, norovirus, anthrax, smallpox, and ricin.

Some others are for infections that you have likely never heard of, including viral hemorrhagic fever, Ross River virus infections, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis.

And unfortunately, very few of these infectious disease vaccines are in stage III trials, which means that very, very few are close to seeing the inside of a pediatrician’s office.

Potential New Vaccines

Which vaccines have the greatest potential to be protecting our kids soon?

A few vaccines have been recently approved, including:

  • Dengvaxia – a dengue fever vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur which has already been approved in Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, El Salvador and Costa Rica (endemic areas)
  • Shingrix – a new shingles vaccine (adults only)
  • Vaxelis – a hexavelent vaccine (a combination vaccine, so technically not a new vaccine or at least it doesn’t mean that your child will get an additional shot, in fact, getting Vaxelis means getting fewer shots)

Based on which vaccines have completed phase III trials and have been submitted for registration to the FDA, the one likely candidate seems to be:

  • an Ebola vaccine from Merck (V920 has finished phase III trials as in under review)

Other vaccines in late development phases include:

  • an MMR vaccine from GSK (already available in other countries)
  • a 15-valent pneumococcal vaccine from Merck (V114, in Phase III trials – would compete with Prevnar 13)
  • Men Quad TT – a “second generation” meningococcal vaccine
  • Bexsero MenB vaccine for infants (in Phase III trials)
  • a Clostridium difficile infection vaccine for seniors by Pfizer (in Phase III trials)
  • a 20-valent pneumococcal vaccine from Pfizer, the makers of Prevnar (20vPnC, in Phase III trials)

And we may see the combination, pentavalent MenABCW-135Y meningococcal vaccine by 2021.

So much for 300 new vaccines…

For More Information on New Vaccines:

Updated May 26, 2019

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