The last time I wrote about vaccines was two years ago – November 17, 2003, to be precise.1 That editorial crackled with frustration about the status of the most effective health intervention that has ever been invented:
"Vaccines are unattractive targets for industry, underappreciated from the public health perspective, underfunded by basic research organizations, and treated with suspicion by the public."
It's a pleasure to report that, two years later, there are the beginnings of a remarkable turnaround. Industry has rediscovered an appetite for developing vaccines. Research has been buoyed by some significant developments. And politicians, the media and the general public have developed a new regard for vaccines, engendered largely by panic at the prospect of a global flu epidemic. Scare stories about the dangers of vaccination are thin on the ground.
As reported on page 28, the pharmaceutical industry is embracing vaccines, with a string of recent...