A report released last month by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposes the creation of a National Vaccine Authority (NVA) to oversee the entire process of vaccine research and development in the United States. The authority will also act as a liaison between the federal government and private industry for vaccine production.

The report discusses, among other topics, the role of applied research in the development of new or improved vaccines against such diseases as tetanus and cholera both in the United States and internationally.

Though the report does not directly address expanded vaccine research opportunities under the proposed authority, Violaine Mitchell, the study director at IOM, says investigators may be attracted to a more directed approach.

"In terms of funding streams it might help direct attention to areas of top priority and attract new researchers there," she says. "On the other hand, so much of what science does well...

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