For a country or region to be fully prepared, all stakeholders including government bodies, industry, and healthcare providers,
must work together and coordinate their efforts. When swine flu emerged earlier this year in Mexico, it made evident the instrumental
role the WHO has played over the past years by ensuring all countries had a preparedness plan in place. The WHO also has the
important task of supporting the worldwide pandemic response infrastructure, ensuring access to data is available, coordinating
stockpiling of drugs, and overseeing communications between stakeholders.
Ensuring that all populations have access to safe vaccines and the corresponding level of supporting education are two important
steps that must be achieved in the move toward true pandemic preparedness. Global companies have essential technological expertise
and the required infrastructure to support governments and vaccines manufacturers so that everything possible is done to protect
the global population from pandemic threats.
Over the last few years, there has been improvement in the global level of preparedness and the ability to respond to global
pandemic threats. This has been manifested in a united response that has been evident during the current swine flu pandemic.
However, no stakeholders can afford to be complacent and there is a need to continue and enhance investment in developing
technologies such as template vaccines and quicker, more flexible manufacturing approaches. Moreover, the next pandemic could
be the next-generation HIV, malaria, or an unidentified emerging disease, which would be even more difficult to tackle, so
investment in the ability to react quickly is vital.
Developing true partnerships between governments, manufacturers, suppliers, and scientists is critical to create and support
systems that will enable appropriate response to any emerging global threat to human health.
CATARINA FLYBORG is an enterprise solutions leader and DARIA DONATI, PhD, is a vaccine initiative marketing manager, both at GE Healthcare, Uppsala, Sweden, +46.18.612.1636, email@example.com
1. Burns A, van der Mensbrugghe D, Timmer H. Evaluating the economic consequences of avian influenza. World Bank Report;
2. GAVI Fund. Washington, DC. Available from: http://www.gavialliance.org/about/in_technologies. [cited 2009 Sep 3].
3. World Health Organization. Geneva. Available from: http://www.who.int/immunization/en/. [cited 2009 Sep 3]
4. Robinson JM. An Alternative to the scale-up and distribution of pandemic influenza vaccine. BioPharm Int. Advances in
vaccine development and manufacturing. 2009 suppl;22(1):12–20.