Vaccination was first pioneered in Europe and ever since, Europe has been at the heart of the global vaccine industry playing a key role in the research and development of preventive as well as therapeutic vaccines. During the last twenty years, the extraordinary pace of innovative vaccine development has been the result of new knowledge and technology that has emerged from basic research, e.g. use of recombinant DNA and hybridoma technologies.
The vaccine industry is actively engaged in research and development of new vaccines, including use of live viral vector vaccines, DNA plasmid technology and immunotherapy. A number of vaccines in development target diseases that are difficult to treat, such as HIV/AIDS and other viral diseases (e.g. cytomegalovirus, dengue, ebola); cancer; Alzheimer’s disease; rheumatic disorders; bacterial diseases (e.g. Clostridium difficile, chlamydia, E. coli) or parasitic diseases (e.g. malaria, hookworm, leishmaniasis) among others. In addition, several combination vaccines offer practical advantages that can boost vaccine uptake, thereby further improving public health.