What are the gaps and needs of vaccine R&D in Europe?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of strategies supporting vaccine development. During the pandemic, TRANSVAC, the European vaccine–research-infrastructure initiative, undertook an in-depth consultation of stakeholders to identify how best to position and sustain a European vaccine R&D infrastructure. The consultation included an online survey incorporating a gaps-and-needs analysis, follow-up interviews and focus-group meetings.
Between October 2020 and June 2021, 53 organisations completed the online survey, including 24 research institutes and universities, and 9 pharmaceutical companies; 24 organisations participated in interviews, and 14 in focus-group meetings. The arising recommendations covered all aspects of the vaccine-development value chain: from preclinical development to financing and business development; and covered prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, for both human and veterinary indications.
Overall, the recommendations supported the expansion and elaboration of services including training programmes, and improved or more extensive access to expertise, technologies, partnerships, curated databases, and-data analysis tools. Funding and financing featured as critical elements requiring support throughout the vaccine-development programmes, notably for academics and small companies, and for vaccine programmes that address medical and veterinary needs without a great potential for commercial gain. Centralizing the access to these research infrastructures via a single on-line portal was considered advantageous.
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