Axe 1 - Santé et Genre

New geographies of pharmaceutical development : vaccine R&D for neglected diseases in the Global South

Axe de rattachement au ceped : Axe 3 - Éducation et Savoirs au Sud

Responsable scientifique du projet au Ceped

Membres du Ceped participant au projet

Membres extérieurs au Ceped participant au projet

  • BARBEITAS Mady , postdoctorante LISIS et associée au CERMES3
  • BENCHIMOL Jaime, chercheur à Casa Oswaldo Cruz, Fondation Oswaldo Cruz, Brésil
  • GARCIA Victor, enseignant-chercheur à l’Universidad El Bosque, Colombia

Partenariat dans le pays de recherche, sans convention

  • Fondation Oswaldo Cruz




The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are among the most common infectious diseases of poor people in developing countries. Globally they affect more than one billion people and put almost two billion at risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 20 diseases or conditions in this group, which include most ’tropical’ diseases, such as Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, snakebite, schistosomiasis, dengue, chikungunya, among others (World Health Organization 2022). Moreover, awareness of the effects of climate change and globalization has turned the eyes to the potential of some of the diseases labeled as ‘neglected’ to cross borders, becoming an emerging menace to countries in the North (Lakoff 2010).
Since the early 2000s, concern from civil society and international organizations has pushed for the constitution of global initiatives to encourage innovation for NTDs, particularly in the form of public private product development partnerships. Nonetheless, the situation of R&D for NTDs has not been effective, and new vaccines and therapeutics are still to see the light of the day for diseases like leishmaniasis and dengue (Barbeitas 2022). It is thus relevant to understand how Global South countries, which are not only the most affected by these infectious diseases, but also have tradition in research and development for tropical diseases, engage in vaccine development and manufacturing, as a way to address their own health needs.
This research project adopts a pluridisciplinary approach that bridges social studies of science, political science, geography and intellectual property law to study :

  • How countries in the Global South identify gaps and find solutions to their health innovation ecosystems and how their participation in vaccine R&D redefines global health pharmaceutical development, particularly in terms of the old assumption of North countries as knowledge producers and the South countries as consumers or importers of technologies ;
  • The negotiations among actors involved in vaccine development (research institutes and universities, public and private pharmaceutical laboratories, multinational companies, governments, international organizations, financial institutions etc) in the South relation to funding for new infrastructures, technology transfer and intellectual property rights ;
  • The role of new arrangements and discourses in vaccine manufacturing in these countries, mainly boosted by Covid-19 pandemic, such as technological autonomy and sovereignty, if they are relevant to narrow the gap of access to vaccines against NTDs and to assure vaccine equity in the developing world.
  • The methodological apparatus will consist of a multi-situated study in three countries Brazil, Colombia and India - based on the comparison of these contexts, as well as on the cooperation among actors from these three countries. Their choice is justified by the existence of a tradition of research and technological development for neglected diseases, as well as the fact that for these three countries health biotechnology industry projects are intertwined with interests at the national and global levels.

By combining scientific literature review, grey literature and field research on innovation ecosystems and the trajectory of new vaccines for neglected diseases, this project will offer an original analysis of global health pharmaceutical development from the perspective of countries of the South. This project will thus contribute to the investigation of technological and health globalization from the perspective of emerging countries and the implications of a new geopolitics of health industries for changes in global health norms and policies.


Vaccines, Innovation, Neglected tropical diseases, Global Health, Global South

Zone géographique (terrains de recherche)

  • zone 1 : Brésil, Rio de Janeiro et Sao Paolo
  • zone 2 : Inde, New Delhi et Hyderabad
  • zone 3 : Colombie, Bogotá, Medellin


  • Début du projet : 01/02/2023
  • Fin du projet : 31/12/2024