The meeting brought together experts from 13 countries (Denmark, USA, UK, France, Bangladesh, India, Australia, Italy, Iran, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Canada). The meeting’s aim was to advance the science of vaccinology and discuss the off-target effects of vaccination. For example, BCG, smallpox, measles, oral polio and yellow fever vaccines may reduce disease and/or mortality from infections other than those they were originally designed to prevent and some vaccines have shown promise against certain cancers and even autoimmune disorders. A key question was raised: if the off-target effects are real and measurable, how could the world imagine using these vaccines for these additional purposes and what other actions would be required to make this possible?
During this two and a half day meeting, institutions such as the Statens Serum Institute, Epivax, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Georgetown University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Pasteur Institute, University of British Columbia, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Leiden University Medical Center, Radboud University, Melbourne University, University of Pennsylvania, Vaxconsult, University of Chicago and companies such as Sanofi Pasteur and GSK shared recent clinical, immunological and epidemiological studies showing that vaccines can provide greater protection than their intended purpose.
An important message that emerged from the conference was the importance to investigate the beneficial effect vs the non-beneficial effects of vaccination.
This meeting was a unique opportunity to network and to foster future collaborations and the development of new research protocols.