No Profit In Junkies, New Heroin Vaccine Ignored - Page 2

By John Lavitt 06/02/14

An existing heroin vaccine might save many, but neither the government nor Pharma care enough to finance it—even now. Why?

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According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “Vaccines save millions of lives a year and are among the most cost-effective health interventions ever developed…. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, all of our investments in vaccines and immunization contribute to the goals of the Decade of Vaccines. As one entity within the greater vaccine community… we are working to ensure that existing life-saving vaccines are introduced into countries where people need them most, and we support the innovation needed to develop new vaccines and delivery technologies and approaches.” 

Interestingly, the Gates emphasis on the Third World was mirrored by Janda’s intent for the heroin vaccine. “I originally designed this vaccine for third world countries and to stop the spread of needle-based viruses caused by the sharing of needles," Janda said. "In Africa, Russia and China, the spread of HIV among heroin addicts is very high. When I first started making this vaccine, I wanted to create an inexpensive option to specifically address that problem. I was trying to make it as inexpensive as possible.”

Asked if he had approached the Gates Foundation for support, Janda explained: “We can’t take their money. We have both direct and indirect costs, and indirect costs are things like basic infrastructure costs; paying for administrative people and janitors and keeping the lights turned on. They won’t cover those costs that we need. We can’t take their money because then we can’t subsidize the indirect costs.” 

John Lavitt is a regular contributor to The Fix. 

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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