Diagnostic Testing for Vaccinomics: Is the Regulatory Approval Framework Adequate? A Comparison of Canada, the United States, and Europe

Vaccinomics aims to integrate variability information from multiple levels of the biological hierarchy from genome to proteome to metabolome, and ways in which these biological parts interact with each other and the environment. Vaccinomics holds significant promise as a new public health tool in designing safer and more effective vaccines for both developed and developing countries. Vaccinomics tests that are envisioned to be used in tandem with vaccine-based health interventions could permit an informed forecast of individual and subpopulation variations in immune responses to vaccines, reduce adverse effects, and contribute to a foundation for rational and directed use of vaccines. A proactive, multidisciplinary engagement with vaccinomics is now timely and much needed in order to develop regulations that best ensure the protection of the public and promote the transition of vaccinomics innovations from discovery to real-life public health applications. This article examines and compares the regulatory oversight of vaccinomics tests in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Recent trends in these jurisdictions suggest that regulatory agencies view personalized genomics/omics medicine, such as vaccinomics, as a desirable goal. At the same time, proposals to increase oversight could impact progress in the field and affect the availability of vaccinomics tests in public health practice and the diagnostic test market. The comparative analysis of vaccinomics in three jurisdictions presented in this article highlights both the convergence and divergence of regulatory oversight. In a rapidly emerging field such as vaccinomics that is pivotal for global public health, achieving better harmonization of policies may be an advantageous target, while ensuring that symmetry exists between the goals of public safety and promoting public health innovation. We suggest it is now timely to proactively initiate a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders (publics, policymakers, researchers, private sector, governments) to foster the development of appropriately targeted regulatory policies in this field.

This content has been updated on December 16, 2015 at 15 h 37 min.