Therapeutic vaccines, the new frontier of medicine –

from Livia Gamondi

Waiting for new preparations that will defend against various pathologies, it is necessary to strengthen the vaccination culture of adults and the elderly. Today we are still far from the goal of immunizing the most vulnerable from the cursed triad: influenza, pneumococcus and herpes zoster

Vaccines and prevention, a combination that has once again proved to work and one of the pillars on which the health of tomorrow in every country is built. And of a universal and sustainable health system where preventable diseases, thanks to vaccination, are systematically stopped in children and also in adults. Vaccination of adults still far from its objectives In Italy, as emerged during the InnovaCtion conference held in Verona at the pharmaceutical company GSK. According to the Report of the Observatory on the use of medicines (Osmed) of 2021, the total expenditure for vaccines was equal to 562.5 million euros in 2020 but, for vaccinations intended for adults such as the flu, the 23valent pneumococcus and Herpes zoster, in total only 108 million euros were spent.

Vaccine culture

Vaccination for adults is very important – explains Giovanni Rezza, general director of Health Prevention of the Ministry of Health – in particular for the so-called “cursed triad”: flu, pneumococcus and Herpes zoster. For the elderly it is essential because it prevents important pathologies. Influenza in people at risk can be severe, pneumococcus can cause severe pneumonia, and shingles, although not fatal, is very annoying and painful. Generally it is necessary to improve vaccination culture in adults and the elderly, people who are at greater risk of complications. General practitioners have a very important role in vaccination culture and administration as well as pharmacists added Rezza. Surely specialists need to be involved more, because they treat fragile patients who need to be protected. Furthermore, this year it is particularly important to recover flu vaccination coverage also in co-administration, a modality to be exploited.

The future

A vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus may soon be available for adults over 60 years of age. a common virus that affects the lungs and respiratory tract and particularly dangerous when it affects frail people and children. The syncytial virus vaccine was the dream of doctors and scientists since 1960 explains Rino Rappuoli, GSK Vaccines chief scientist and there have been several failures before succeeding, the latest one in 2019. Now thanks to the new technology possible and the data of this vaccine they are under review and we expect to be available in 8-12 months.
Vaccines can solve many problems and have proven in many cases that they can do it forever. Today, the new frontier is the therapeutic ones We have been working for some time on cancer vaccines, and now we are focusing on bacteria, because antibiotic resistance is an urgent problem because in several cases they are no longer effective. If we don’t provide remedies in ten years it will be an unsustainable problem. Vaccines will be the future of man, they have solved infant mortality in the last century. If we want to live well, it is indicated that even the elderly are vaccinated, as they are very subject to antibiotic resistance.

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New approach

Innovation does not only mean increasingly effective formulations, but also finding different ways to develop and improve the culture that leads adults to get vaccinated around the world. The experience gained for anti-covid vaccination should be used to create vaccination registries and to find regulatory, organizational and access solutions that allow identifying the subjects who can benefit from certain vaccinations and create an easy system for them to help protect yourself. The sustainability of the system must also be assessed: in 2050 one in three Italians will be over 65 and the health system will have to be able to bear the costs and this is also determined by prevention. A study by John Hopkins University analyzed the effects of investments in prevention on the containment of healthcare costs: for every dollar spent on vaccines, a total of 44 dollars are saved, including medical expenses and indirect costs related to work. Never before during the pandemic have we realized how much it is necessary to be independent in the availability of drugs. The demand for drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tools in Italy, but also in other countries, is mainly supported by the national health system. A global reflection should be opened between institutions and companies in Italy, explains Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister of Economic Development to define a review of the system of regulation and financing of public demand for pharmaceutical products and the rules governing their marketing. Above all, we must act to make the authorization processes for the various phases of the pharmaceutical chain, from research to production, faster and more efficient. Above all, however, the introduction on the market must be faster, overcoming regional inhomogeneities in order to quickly bring the benefit of scientific innovations to citizens.

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July 12, 2022 (change July 12, 2022 | 4:53 pm)



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