Vaccines, new opportunities for a new society

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 26;111(34):12288-93. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1402981111. Epub 2014 Aug 18.


Vaccination is the most effective medical intervention ever introduced and, together with clean water and sanitation, it has eliminated a large part of the infectious diseases that once killed millions of people. A recent study concluded that since 1924 in the United States alone, vaccines have prevented 40 million cases of diphtheria, 35 million cases of measles, and a total of 103 million cases of childhood diseases. A report from the World Health Organization states that today vaccines prevent 2.5 million deaths per year: Every minute five lives are saved by vaccines worldwide. Overall, vaccines have done and continue to do an excellent job in eliminating or reducing the impact of childhood diseases. Furthermore, thanks to new technologies, vaccines now have the potential to make an enormous contribution to the health of modern society by preventing and treating not only communicable diseases in all ages, but also noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. The achievement of these results requires the development of novel technologies and health economic models able to capture not only the mere cost-benefit of vaccination, but also the value of health per se.

Keywords: adjuvants; cost-effectiveness; immunotherapy; life expectancy; reverse vaccinology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Vaccines / pharmacology
  • Communicable Disease Control / economics
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / prevention & control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy
  • Poverty
  • Social Conditions
  • Synthetic Biology / trends
  • Vaccination / trends
  • Vaccines / economics
  • Vaccines / isolation & purification
  • Vaccines / pharmacology*


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Vaccines