Press Release WHO/84
10 November 1998
THE CHILDREN'S VACCINE INITIATIVE ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS
OF ITS 1998 AWARDS
This year, the Children's Vaccine Initiative (CVI) honoured researchers and public health specialists from Australia, Japan and the United States with its Jenner, Pasteur and Lifetime Achievement awards. The CVI awards were given at a ceremony during an international conference here on 9-10 November. The conference is held every two years and brings together the world's leading experts in vaccines and vaccination, meeting as the CVI Consultative Group.
Dr Bjorn Melgaard, CVI Executive Secretary, presented the awards:
The 1998 CVI Jenner Award for Recent Contributions to Immunization to Dr Ralph H. Henderson for his remarkable achievement in establishing the WHO's Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), that is now preventing the premature deaths of an estimated three million children and disability in a further three quarters of a million children annually.
The 1998 CVI Pasteur Award for Recent Contributions to Vaccine Development to Drs Ruth F. Bishop, Roger I. Glass and Albert Z. Kapikian for their outstanding work that led to the development of vaccines against rotavirus disease and laid the basis for their future application.
The 1998 CVI Lifetime Achievement Award to Drs Yuji Sato and Hiroko Sato for their outstanding contributions to vaccine development and dedication to expanding protection of the world's children against infectious diseases.
The CVI created the awards two years ago to mark the "Year of the Vaccine" commemorating the 200th anniversary of the first vaccine, for smallpox, discovered by British physician Edward Jenner and the 100th anniversary of the death of French vaccine pioneer Louis Pasteur. The awards honour individuals who have made exceptional contributions to vaccine development and immunization and in so doing have expanded protection against infectious diseases.
Launched at the World Summit for Children in New York in 1990, the CVI is a global coalition of organizations from the public and private sectors, including the vaccine industry, working together to protect the world's children against infectious diseases through the development and utilization of safe, effective and easy-to-deliver vaccines. It is cosponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation. The CVI Secretariat is in Geneva.
The Jenner Award laureate, Dr Ralph H. Henderson, was cited for his visionary, single-minded leadership of the EPI from 1979 to 1989. During this decade of incredible growth, the EPI achieved what has been called "the greatest public health revolution of this century"a revolution that brought vaccines to some 80% of the world's children and is continuing to do so every year, with an estimated saving annually of 3 million young lives. Dr Henderson is currently an adviser to Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO.
The Pasteur Award winners were cited for their pioneering work in the development of vaccines against rotavirus disease and in laying the foundations for the future application of these vaccines. The rotavirus claims an estimated 600,000-800,000 children's lives every year. Dr Ruth F. Bishop, who is at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, discovered the rotavirus in 1973 and opened an avenue of research that prepared the way for the development of the first experimental rotavirus vaccines. Dr Albert Z. Kapikian of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, for the past 25 years been a leader in this field, initiated development of what this year became the first rotavirus vaccine to be licensed for use in children. Finally, Dr Roger Glass of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, who began working on rotavirus vaccines under Dr Kapikian, produced the first clear evidence that rotavirus infections are prevalent not only in developing but also in industrialized countries. He has become a major stimulus to epidemiological research on rotavirus disease throughout the world and has played a key role in the development of several experimental rotavirus vaccines.
The winners of the CVI lifetime achievement award, Dr Yuji Sato and his wife Kiroko Sato, developed the first acellular pertussis (or whooping cough) vaccine nearly 20 years ago, while working for the National Institutes of Health in Tokyo. This vaccine, which was widely used in Japan, uses purified proteins of the pertussis organism (Bordetella pertussis), instead of the whole bacterial cell used for the traditional "whole-cell" pertussis vaccine. The newer acellular vaccines have about the same efficacy but fewer of the side-effects linked to the whole-cell vaccine, which they have almost entirely replaced in some industrialized countries.
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