Vaccines are a key defence against infectious diseases. The design & production of safe and successful vaccines however, remains largely serendipitous and is not economically attractive for commercial vaccine manufacturers. A greater understanding is therefore needed of what makes a vaccine succeed or fail. FastVac is a public health initiative which offers an integrated approach to take candidate vaccines for new and emerging diseases rapidly through design, process development & scale up and release testing & licensure.
The huge increase in international travel provides an ideal vehicle for rapid global dispersal of disease, for example the spread of H1N1 influenza in April 2009. The geographical spread of vectors, and the ability of pathogens to adapt to them encourages the emergence of diseases in new areas, evidenced by the recent spread of Bluetongue virus, and 2007 outbreak of Chikungunya in Italy. Infectious diseases threaten the health and economy of nations. FastVac brings together vaccine institutes across Europe working on emerging diseases to protect Europe and beyond. It builds upon the partnership established in the FLUSECURE network for pandemic influenza vaccines, and draws upon existing skills of the participants to design technologies that can be easily transferred between different European and worldwide sites to enable simultaneous global production of successful vaccines.