Process mapping of vaccines: Understanding the limitations in current response to emerging epidemic threats


Vaccination remains the most successful and effective mechanism of pathogen control. However, their development and deployment in epidemic settings have been limited, and the 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa identified several bottlenecks linked to a lack of investment in pathogen research, infrastructure or regulation. Shortly after this outbreak, the UK Government established the UK Vaccine Network to ensure the UK is better prepared to respond to pathogens outbreaks of epidemic potential. As part of their work, the network commissioned the creation of a Vaccine Development Tool ([1]) to serve as a guide to the key stages in vaccine development. The tool also set out to capture the key, rate-limiting bottlenecks in the development of vaccines against emerging infectious disease such that corrective action could be taken, be it through research, funding, infrastructure and policy, both in the UK and internationally. The main research bottlenecks were related to understanding pathogen biology, identification of appropriate animal models and investment in the manufacturing sciences, especially into process development. Infrastructure gaps in GMP manufacturing and fill-finish were also identified and limitations in GMO regulation and regulatory and ethical approvals, especially for outbreak pathogens required new policy initiatives. The UK Vaccine Network has since begun work to correct for these limitations with a series of funding calls and development programmes. This paper seeks to summarise the Vaccine Development Tool and its key findings.


Emergency response

Priority pathogens

Development pipeline

Vaccine development tool

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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