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Vaccines partnerships addressing the diseases of today and tomorrow

Dr Gillian Ellsbury
Medical Director for Vaccines, Pfizer UK & Ireland

23rd August 2021

 
Partnerships are how we make scientific breakthroughs and then ensure they translate into medicines and vaccines that reach patients and people in need. No one country or institution has all the answers.

 

Biopharmaceutical companies like Pfizer develop medicines and vaccines and then work with national governments, health authorities and healthcare providers to secure the necessary approvals to distribute them around the world. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect illustration of that. That we have come so far and now have multiple vaccines being deployed against this novel virus owes much to that spirit of cooperation and common purpose.

At Pfizer we take our role in this shared endeavour seriously, recognising that we need to work with partners in academia and governments, to achieve results that address some of the world’s greatest health challenges.

That’s why in May we launched the Pfizer Centre of Excellence for Epidemiology of Vaccine-preventable Diseases at the University of Bristol.

Using an initial investment of £4.6 million from Pfizer, the centre will conduct real-world population-based surveillance studies in hospitals and the community to identify and measure the burden of specific infectious diseases affecting adults, including the elderly, as well as children. This data will help us to better understand both the direct and indirect impact that vaccination could have in reducing the consequences of infectious diseases.

 

Vaccination remains one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions – second only to clean water. 

We’ve partnered with the University of Bristol because of its expertise in vaccines research and collaborative links with two NHS Trusts and other health partners. Here at Pfizer, the data gathered through the centre, which is only the second to launch to date and the first outside the US, could also help to inform the design, development and use of next-generation vaccines. 

Vaccination remains one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions – second only to clean water.1As well as helping to save lives and improve health, it also has wider economic and social benefits, for example reducing healthcare costs and decreasing lost labour productivity.2 The NHS Long Term Plan has identified respiratory diseases as one of its major priorities over the next 10 years3 and the centre will initially focus on pneumococcal disease – a serious risk in the UK.4 For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria which causes pneumococcal disease,5 is one of the leading causes of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the UK and Europe.6 CAP accounts for approximately 29,000 UK deaths per year and 5–15% of patients hospitalised with the disease will sadly die within 30 days of admission.6

The UK boasts some of the world’s top universities,7 a bold life sciences strategy,8 and Government commitment to increase research funding to £22 billion by 2025,9 making it the perfect place for our second centre of excellence.

Our relationship with the UK’s research base started more than 65 years ago with our site in Sandwich, Kent – one of the world’s first mass production facilities for penicillin.

And running alongside our own medicines development, we collaborate here in the UK with hundreds of researchers and life science partners every year, investing millions of pounds in breakthroughs that change patients’ lives.

 

Read next:

 

The centre will conduct real-world population-based surveillance studies in hospitals and the community to identify and measure the burden of specific vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.

 

With a renewed focus on keeping people well, vaccination could help to contribute to a more sustainable NHS and a healthier, more resilient future for Britain.

 

 

References

  1. Public Health England, 'Why vaccinate?' (2014). Available at: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2014/05/01/why-vaccinate/ [Last accessed July 2021] 

  2. Office of Health Economics, 'Realising The Broader Value of Vaccines in the UK: Ready for Prime Time?' (2021). Available at: https://www.ohe.org/publications/realising-broader-value-vaccines-uk-rea... [Last accessed July 2021] 

  3. NHS Long-Term Plan, 'Better care for major health conditions: Respiratory disease' (2019). Available at: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/nhs-long-term... [Last accessed July 2021] 

  4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 'Pneumonia in adults' (2016). Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs110/chapter/Introduction [Last accessed July 2021] 

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'Pneumococcal Disease'. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/index.html [Last accessed July 2021] 

  6. Chalmers, J., et al. 'Community-acquired pneumonia in the United Kingdom: a call to action'. Pneumonia 2017: 9:15 Available at: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/185510374.pdf [Last accessed July 2021]

  7. QS World University Rankings (2021). Available at: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/choosing-university/worlds-... [Last accessed July 2021] 

  8. UK Government, 'Bold new life sciences vision sets path for UK to build on pandemic response and deliver life-changing innovations to patients' (2021). [Last accessed July 2021] 

  9. UK Government, 'The future of UK research: structure and funding' (2020). Available at: https://post.parliament.uk/the-future-of-uk-research-structure-and-funding/ [Last accessed July 2021]

 

PP-VAC-GBR-1869 / July 2021