It's also a disease, he says, in which there are promising options for control.
"Technologies need resources and economic analysis quantifies the burden of the disease in human and economic terms," says Shepard. "The studies show how much societies could save from effective control strategies."
The hope is that these analyses will help policy makers decide to invest the resources needed to develop and implement effective measures.
Shepard says that he's optimistic that a vaccine will come into widespread use in the coming years as phase 3 trials are beginning in a number of locations around the world and Sanofi Pasteur is currently building a large production plant in France to be ready when the vaccine is introduced.
"It was a long shot 20 years ago when I started working on this disease, but it's becoming much closer now," says Shepard.
Shepard has been involved with a number of studies on the economics of vaccines. In some cases the technologies already existed and the research aided more widespread dissemination. For example, he led an evaluation in Ecuador that found that its mass campaigns were cost-effective in saving lives through increasing vaccination coverage. Another study showed that despite the higher price of a vaccine that protected against more diseases, incorporating hepatitis B or hemophilus influenza type B (HiB) into the basic childhood DTP vaccine (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) was economically advantageous due to higher coverage, savings in personnel time, and less discomfort by children.
"We know first-hand that regardless of where you live, we are all affected by dengue," says Shepard. "At the Heller School, we los
|Contact: Susan Chaityn Lebovits|