New European vaccine initiative

Published 2013-11-26 13:40. Updated 2014-02-10 21:19

Leading organisations have joined forces to launch a unique project that will pave the way for a pan-European framework for rapidly assessing and communicating the benefits and risks of vaccines. ADVANCE, as the project is called, is in collaboration between European researchers, public health, regulatory agencies and vaccine manufacturers. Karolinska Institutet coordinates the Swedish participation in the project.

The initiative aims to help government agencies and decision-makers in the healthcare field to make quick and well-informed decisions regarding strategies for vaccinating the European population. Such a framework would make it easier for regulators and public health authorities to make fast, more informed decisions regarding vaccination strategies, and help to maintain public confidence in immunisation, particularly when questions are raised about the safety of specific vaccines.

Researchers at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet will participate in the scientific studies that are planned within the ADVANCE project and also contribute their expertise regarding the establishment of the framework. Other Swedish participants include the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which has its headquarters in Sweden. Other important partners include the European equivalent of the Swedish Medical Products Agency, EMA, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and several major pharmaceutical companies.

The initiative is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), which in turn is a collaboration between the EU and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). ADVANCE (Accelerated Development of Vaccine Benefit-risk Collaboration in Europe) receives the equivalent of SEK 95 million in funding over five years. Karolinska Institutet will receive SEK 1.4 million over the same period.

"This collaboration is unique as it is the first time that a European framework is created for evaluating vaccines. It is important that we participate in this project as Sweden has excellent prerequisites, through our health care data register, for evaluating vaccines on a population-based level", says Lisen Arnheim Dahlström, project investigator from Karolinska Institutet.