Our vision is to save lives through accelerating the development and use of vaccines against bacterial infections relevant to LMICs.
Vaccines save millions of lives every year and typically work silently in the background, promoting the body’s ability to kill the pathogen before an infection is established. Despite this, bacteria still causes around six million deaths per year in humans and many more in animals, with people in LMICs disproportionately affected.
Worryingly, as anti-microbial resistance (AMR) increases, the number of deaths from infection will rise with devastating personal and economic consequences. One reason bacteria can cause so much harm is because there are many different diseases caused by bacteria for which there is either no vaccine or the existing vaccine does not provide complete protection. New vaccines against bacterial infections will help people in all countries, but most prominently in LMICs. Unfortunately, there are many barriers that currently prevent such vaccines from being developed. These barriers can be for scientific reasons, such as what to put in the vaccine, or economic issues, such as neglect due to lack of commercial viability.
Our aim is to establish an open network of experts from multiple disciplines and provide a forum to help overcome the barriers that inhibit the delivery of new vaccines to where they are needed. We envisage this to be achieved through promoting close interactions and working between members, particularly across disciplines, encouraging new ways of working and the dissemination of best practice. Therefore, we have established the BactiVac network to develop vaccines against LMIC-relevant bacterial infections in humans and animals. Although the network is based in the UK, it will grow through its LMIC partners harnessing the considerable strengths across the globe in disciplines related to bacterial vaccinology, including immunology, epidemiology, systems biology, clinical trials and support for vaccine licensure.
We believe this is best achieved through having a strong LMIC involvement, spread across multiple continents, from the onset. This is reflected in our Management Board, which includes members from LMICs across the globe. To deliver our vision we have been awarded substantial funding from the MRC under the GCRF Networks in Vaccines Research and Development initiative to fund the network and catalyst projects and training opportunities for its members. This will ultimately lead to the enabling of scientists, clinicians and companies from around the world to come together and share their skills and knowledge to generate new vaccines that will save lives from bacterial infections.