he International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) applauds the governments of Canada, Italy, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their leadership and generosity in establishing a pilot Advance Market Commitment (AMC) program, an innovative financing mechanism aimed at accelerating the research, development and production of new vaccines. The AMC pilot plan for pneumococcal vaccines could help save the lives of millions of young children and infants and has the potential to be expanded to include vaccines to prevent other neglected diseases.
The lack of incentives available to encourage greater investment from the private sector, where most of the much-needed expertise in product development and manufacturing lies, is one of the biggest challenges facing the development of new drugs and vaccines to combat global infectious diseases. Uncertain market demand also raises a serious obstacle to industry involvement in research and development for global public goods. An AMC, which sets a guaranteed price for new drugs and vaccines in advance, is an important new initiative that could help to mitigate this risk and ultimately stimulate greater investment in urgently-needed health research.
"The AMC pilot could speed the development and delivery of new life-saving vaccines. It will complement and reinforce a number of ongoing efforts to promote these products," said Dr. Robert Hecht, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, IAVI. "We also need more direct financial support for research and development by the G8 and other governments, and we must explore the use of additional incentives," stated Dr. Hecht.
An AIDS vaccine offers the best hope for ending the AIDS pandemic and could play an important part in sustaining AIDS treatment and prevention programs. The exceptional scientific and financial challenges posed by the search for a safe, effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection must be matched by equal efforts to overcome them. Creative solutions, such as AMCs, could help to speed the development and widespread uptake of an AIDS vaccine.
"IAVI is pleased to have collaborated with the GAVI Alliance, the World Bank, the Center for Global Development and other vaccine public-private partnerships over the past two years to develop the AMC pilot program," said Dr. Hecht. "We will continue to support AMCs and other novel public policy initiatives that will help us to fulfill our mission of creating a vaccine that can help stem the spread of new HIV infections, now close to 12,000 per day.