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Beating back diseases
A mere century ago infectious diseases were the main cause of death worldwide, even in the most developed countries. Today with the exception of clean drinking water, nothing rivals vaccination in fighting infectious diseases and keeping mortality rates low. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates immunization saves between two to three million lives across the globe every year.
The latest case in point is polio. Since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated, with the global incidence of polio decreasing by 99%. This translates into an estimated 10 million people walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed by the disease.
Beyond their efficacy, disease prevention is the most cost-effective healthcare intervention available. This means as a matter of fact a cost relief for health systems in particular in the emerging countries.
Simply put, vaccination is administering a non-pathogenic bacterium, virus or molecule to provoke the production of antibodies to fight back in the disease when it attacks the body. The result is immunization.
Vaccines, our expertise
Fighting against dengue
“Our company set out more than 20 years ago to develop a dengue vaccine to address the significant unmet public health need in Latin America and Asia, where dengue is endemic.” Olivier Charmeil, Executive Vice President, Vaccines.
Indeed, Sanofi Pasteur developed the first vaccine to be approved against dengue in 2015. Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness known for its high fevers, intense joint and muscle pain and crushing headaches, lending it its nickname – breakbone fever. Severe cases can lead to hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal condition requiring hospitalization.
Half the world’s population, 3.9 billion, lives in countries at risk, with 96 million people affected each year, according to the WHO. With broad vaccination programs, Sanofi Pasteur has estimated dengue-endemic countries can aim to reduce the burden of dengue by 50% in five years.
Living with dengue threat
In 2010, the Caribbean island Martinique was hit by a record epidemic of Dengue Fever. This video shows the impact the disease had on peoples’ lives.
Close to polio eradication
We are also on the frontline in the fight against polio. Sanofi Pasteur has been a partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative mentioned above for over 20 years, supplying Oral (OPV) and Inactivated injectable (IPV) Polio Vaccines. Thanks to the initiative, the number of polio-endemic countries is down from more than 125 countries in 1988 to two today.
“We’re 5 000km from Marcy l’Etoile, where our producers are busy getting the doses out, and at the other end of the chain I just administered two drops of OPV to a child, a newborn. It was very moving. I’m very happy and proud.” David, who has produced IPV at Sanofi Pasteur’s Marcy l’Etoile site near Lyons, France, for 16 years, on administering a vaccine to a baby on a trip to Cameroon.
Dr. Joël Calmet, director, Medical and Scientific Communication, Sanofi Pasteur, is dedicated to eradicating polio:
Given our successful history in developing vaccines, we announced early 2016 that we had launched a vaccine R&D project to target prevention of Zika following the WHO’s declaration that the virus was a global health emergency. To successfully see this project through, we are drawing on our extensive experience developing vaccines for similar viruses, including yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and dengue.
“We have people and technology in house, ongoing surveillance in countries, a global network of collaborators and scientists and clinicians, so that gives us a big head start in finding the right technologies to tackle this significant emergency the WHO has declared.” Dr. Nicholas Jackson, head of research, Sanofi Pasteur, on the race to develop a Zika vaccine.
Access to vaccines
More than 3 million lives saved in the world every year..., but more than 3 million people still die due to a lack of access to existing vaccines.
Sanofi Pasteur wants everyone to have access to its existing vaccines – no matter where they live.
The cost of vaccine administration, weak health systems, and in some cases conflict, mean that many people living in the world’s poorest countries do not have access to vaccines. We have ongoing partnerships with a number of international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Red Cross, through which we supply vaccines where they are needed most.
At Sanofi, we believe civil society initiatives to foster vaccination are crucial in fighting disease.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) exemplifies this. Founded in 2000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF and vaccine manufacturers, including Sanofi Pasteur, it is committed to supporting immunization programs and accelerating the introduction of new vaccines. In collaboration with GAVI, we also developed the EPIVAC program to train doctors to implement immunization campaigns in eleven Central and West African countries.
Sanofi Pasteur has historically practiced a policy of tiered pricing to facilitate access to vaccines in GAVI countries.
The work of Louis Pasteur led to the development of the first vaccines, notably against rabies. Creating vaccines is one of the missions of Sanofi Pasteur, whose history is marked by innovations.
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