VACCINES: IOM Lists ‘Best Buys’ for Care, Cost
Looking to fund vaccine efforts for diseases "that do not get as much attention as AIDS," the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine is set to release a report detailing "which potential vaccines would offer society the greatest benefits" in terms of preventing death and sickness and saving health care dollars. The AP/Baltimore Sun reports that at a preview of the IOM report this week, scientists outlined their picks, which included vaccines for cytomegalovirus (CMV), group B streptococcus and strep pneumonia. "These are the ones we really want society to invest in ... sort of a no-brainer," said Dr. Robert Lawrence of Johns Hopkins University, chair of the IOM panel that drafted the recommendations. For $360 million, the IOM estimated that researchers could develop a CMV vaccine within seven years, helping to prevent some 5,000 infected newborns each year that suffer retardation or death. Also within seven years, researchers for $400 million could develop a vaccine for the streptococcus strain, which affects one in every 500 newborns annually -- many of whom die or suffer neurological damage. A vaccine designed to target strep pneumonia in all regions of the country could be ready within three years with a $240 million investment, also reducing related meningitis and ear infections. The IOM recommends using $450 million to expand flu shots, which could help stem the 30 million annual cases. Vaccines for H. pylori bacteria, hepatitis C and human papillomavirus would be "less cost-effective, but still promising," according to the IOM (4/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.