About the R&I Working Group

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As of 2015, all six World Health Organization (WHO) regions have set a goal for measles elimination, with a target date by, or before 2020. Additionally, three regions have set a goal for rubella elimination. Research facilitates progress toward these goals by providing the scientific underpinnings of elimination strategies and policy. Research helps shape evidence-based policies and improve on the tools required to achieve elimination. Historically, research has played a critical role in many disease eradication/elimination activities; for example, the development of the bifurcated needles played a key role in the final stages in eradication of smallpox and immunogenicity studies led to licensing and use of bivalent-oral polio vaccines that accelerated polio eradication to the end game.An international meeting hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May 2011 highlighted the critical research areas necessary to achieve measles and rubella/Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) eradication. These areas comprise:

  • Measles, rubella and CRS epidemiology;
  • Assessing vaccine efficacy and effectiveness;
  • Needle-free vaccine-delivery methods (e.g. aerosolized or powdered vaccines inhaled through the respiratory tract);
  • Improved methods for laboratory testing for measles, rubella and CRS;
  • New immunization strategies;
  • Improved methods to monitor and evaluate measles and rubella vaccination programmes;
  • Development of effective advocacy tools to use with decision-makers, and improved messages and strategies to communicate with potential beneficiaries and their families;
  • Economic analyses of different strategic options; and
  • Mathematical modelling.

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts have also worked to stimulate measles and rubella research to support regional elimination efforts, identifying a new research agenda. The M&RI, through its workgroups and this website support a solid research agenda to achieve elimination. This website aims to promote cooperation among partners and stakeholders and share information to improve the quality of research. Finally, the M&RI hopes to share research priorities to help researchers focus their efforts on some of the key issues needed to be addressed, while being mindful that critical innovations may be developed outside of these priorities.

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