Time to increase the understanding of influenza vaccine effectiveness

Time to increase the understanding of influenza vaccine effectiveness

There has been a call for researchers to join new efforts to study brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness.

A call has been issued for research institutes and networks to join new efforts to increase the understanding of influenza vaccine effectiveness in Europe. The call is open to any European organisation and closes on 15 April 2019.

The DRIVE for influenza vaccine effectiveness

This is the second season when organisations interested in studying brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness have been invited to join the growing DRIVE (Development of Robust and Innovative Vaccine Effectiveness) consortium as Associate Partners through an annual call for tenders, this time commencing for the 2019/20 influenza season.

The DRIVE Associate Partners will be compensated for sharing data from existing studies as well as contributing to innovative approaches to developing estimates on brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness for all brands used in Europe each season.

Sites without established vaccine effectiveness studies are also eligible to apply for funds and technical assistance to develop new study capacity.

The DRIVE network consists of 12 research sites from seven European countries. Eight new sites joined the network last year as the result of the first call.

The DRIVE project is a pan-European consortium which involves both the public sector and vaccine manufacturers in brand-specific evaluation of influenza vaccine effectiveness – a new regulatory requirement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

DRIVE has already delivered first pilot data estimating brand-specific influenza vaccine effectiveness in the 2017/2018 influenza season.

The research project is underpinned by a governance framework that allows transparent and efficient collaboration between public and private stakeholders and includes firewalling measures recommended by public stakeholders. This includes an independent scientific committee that has been established to ensure the integrity of DRIVE studies.

Studying influenza vaccine effectiveness

Influenza is a deadly disease that causes up to 50 million cases of illness and up to 70,000 deaths in Europe every year, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. DRIVE study outputs will help fill knowledge gaps, meet new regulatory requirements, and improve communication about influenza vaccination.

Dr. Hanna Nohynek, Chief physician and Deputy Head of Infectious Diseases Control and Vaccines, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland, explains: “We welcome DRIVE as a timely initiative bringing both public and private partners together to make the best use of influenza vaccine effectiveness data. Working together according to the highest scientific standards and in a transparent manner is in the interest of modern public health”.

“DRIVE has started work to deliver high-quality brand-specific information on influenza vaccines to regulators, policy-makers, clinicians and the public. We are now seeking more research partners to help us achieve the scale of data needed for robust studies and to develop new ways to assess influenza vaccine effectiveness”, said Professor Javier Díez-Domingo, Director of the Vaccine Research Department, FISABIO- Public Health in Spain and DRIVE Coordinator.

More about DRIVE

DRIVE is a public-private partnership funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative. The members include public health institutes, universities, small and medium-sized enterprises, industry and a patient organisation.

The role and contribution of each member, including the vaccine manufacturers, is clearly defined and traceable to ensure scientific independence.

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