The International Vaccine Institute (IVI/국제백신연구소/Gukje Vaccine Yeonguso) is an international nonprofit organization that was founded on the belief that the health of children in developing countries can be dramatically improved by the use of new and improved vaccines. Created initially as an initiative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), IVI began formal operations as an independent international organization in 1997, located in the vicinity of Seoul National University Gwanak Campus at 1 Gwanak Avenue/Gwanak-ro, Nakseongdae-dong san 4-8 beonji, Seoul Gwanak-gu, Republic of Korea.
The Institute's state-of-the-art facility was built with the generous support of the Korean government and houses Biosafety Level 3+ (BSL3+) laboratories, which allow vaccine research on dangerous pathogens such as those that cause avian influenza and tuberculosis.
From Seoul, the Institute is able to carry out its activities through close collaboration with other organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as with governments, research institutes, public health organizations, and industry throughout the world.
Working in collaboration with the international scientific community, public health organizations, governments, and industry, IVI is involved in all areas of the vaccine spectrum – from new vaccine design in the laboratory to vaccine development and evaluation in the field to facilitating sustainable introduction of vaccines in countries where they are most needed.
Currently, IVI has 40 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) as signatories to its Establishment Agreement. The Institute has a unique mandate to work exclusively on vaccine development and introduction specifically for people in developing countries, with a focus on neglected diseases affecting these regions.
IVI is the world’s only international organization with the mandate to discover, develop, and deliver vaccines for developing countries. IVI is unique because of its involvement in the entire vaccine spectrum - from new vaccine design in the laboratory to vaccine development and evaluation in the field to facilitating sustainable vaccine introduction in countries where vaccines are needed the most.
IVI is able to accomplish all of this due to its in-house capacity in basic and translational research and its extensive network of field sites and collaborations with various private-sector, public-sector and governmental partners in countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Institute focuses on diseases of the poor and has vaccine programs focused on cholera, enteric fever, and dengue. It also conducts work on Shigella, rotavirus, polio, and hepatitis E.
IVI's Translational Research "translates" basic discoveries in vaccine research and development into practical public health tools such as new and improved vaccines and diagnostic tests. IVI's translational research programs also address the question of why much-needed vaccines against diseases primarily affecting poor countries are not available for use in these countries.
Due to lack of economic incentives for vaccine producers, there is limited progress in the development of new vaccines against neglected diseases of the poor. In addition, there are delays in the introduction of new and existing vaccines into public health programs which are frequently attributed to lack of data (e.g., disease burden and economic impact of infectious diseases, impact and cost-effectiveness of vaccination, and safety and efficacy of new vaccines) needed by governments to make informed decisions.
IVI is committed to building capacity in the vaccine sciences and public health in developing countries in order to ensure sustainability of its work in vaccine development and delivery. The institute conducts various programs in technology transfer, training, and technical assistance, and regularly convenes symposia and workshops, including its signature vaccinology course.