A group of private sector organisations has created a partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support children’s health in 73 of the world’s poorest countries.

The three-year partnership between Gavi and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), a global association of pharmaceutical wholesalers, aims to strengthen regional supply chain training centres in Benin and Rwanda, serving countries across Africa.

IFPW, whose members include Walgreens Boots Alliance and McKesson-Celesio, will provide support including expertise and US$1.5 million to help students receive training to become supply chain managers. Ornella Barra, IFPW’s chair and CEO of Wallgreens Boots Alliance, said: “We look forward to sharing our industry’s knowledge, expertise and resources with Gavi and its partners to strengthen developing countries’ medical supply chains and to improve the availability of and access to vaccines for the children who need them.” Gavi is also working with UPS to develop an executive training and mentorship programme to improve the capability of local supply chain leaders.

Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley said: “One of the largest obstacles to immunising children in poor countries is getting the vaccines to them. “Vaccines are temperature-sensitive, and the infrastructure in poor countries often is lacking. Partnerships, such as this one with IFPW which represents engagement of a whole new industry, are bringing new thinking and resources to help the Vaccine Alliance reach every child.”

Gavi also announced two partnerships focused on improving injection safety. These are: A collaboration with Star Syringe, a UK-based medical research, design and development company, to take advantage of royalties on the company’s patented K1 auto-disposable syringe which will provide up to US$ 2 million in cost savings to Gavi and developing countries. An agreement by the Indian company Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices to support of a WHO global injection safety campaign. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.

Research fellowships awarded

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research in the United States have awarded fellowships to support research on gene mutations. John Hunter, Ph.D., at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Lynn McGregor, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Francisco, are examining KRAS, the most commonly mutated gene in the RAS family, which is involved in 95 per cent of pancreatic cancer cases and a high percentage of other cancers.

Funding partnership to continue

A funding partnership worth millions of pounds to researchers in Ireland has been renewed. Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board) and the Wellcome Trust have  announced the renewal of the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership. The partnership, established in 2010, has provided more than €4 million for biomedical and clinical science research in Ireland, including an investigation of dietary factors influencing cardiovascular disease, cell division in cancer and memory function.

Ebola funding continues

The Wellcome Trust’s contribution to research into the ebola virus has topped £10 million. Its funding is part of an emergency package to tackle the ongoing epidemic in West Africa. A dozen grants have been awarded so far, ranging from developing and testing new treatments and vaccines, to monitoring and predicting the spread of the disease and assessing the social challenges associated with an epidemic.