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Computational modeling can help plan vaccine introduction, Pitt study finds
Date:9/29/2011

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 29 Proper planning before the introduction of new vaccines into a developing country's active immunization program could prevent storage problems and transportation bottlenecks that decrease the availability of existing vaccines by as much as two-thirds, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Computational models can assess the evolving needs of the vaccine supply chain or the series of steps required to get a vaccine from the manufacturer to the target population. The modeling can forecast the impact of new vaccine introduction and identify potential disruptions, concluded the study, which will appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

"Our study highlights the importance of prior planning when introducing new vaccines to avoid last-minute temporary fixes," said the study's lead author, Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., M.B.A., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology and biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. "New vaccines may not fit smoothly into supply chains and therefore fail to reach their target populations easily. These problems may prevent other vaccines from reaching clinics as well. Manufacturers and policymakers should consider vaccine quantity and packaging before designing vaccines and introducing them in unfamiliar areas with limited resources."

The Pitt scientists, who are part of the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation-funded Vaccine Modeling Initiative, developed a computational model to determine the impact of introducing rotavirus vaccine and the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to Niger's Expanded Programs on Immunization vaccine supply chain.

Thousands of West African children die every year from rotavirus and pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia. The Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) is a World Health Organization initiative that aims to make vaccines that can prevent these deaths available to all children around t
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Contact: Allison Schlesinger
SchlesingerAP@upmc.edu
412-648-9725
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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