Start of the First Research

Currently the group of people over 65 years old represents approximately 20% of the population. Some estimates indicate that by 2064 it could account for more than 40%. Due to immunosenescence older people are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Therefore, the burden of disease in the elderly will be unaffordable for the European healthcare systems. Scientific evidence regarding the burden of disease of infectious diseases in the aging population is for the development of immunisation programs for ageing adults in European countries.

VITAL’s Work Package 1 is starting a standardized retrospective study for collecting and analyzing (potential) vaccine-preventable disease burden data in the ageing population. In this study two regions of Europe will join forces to obtain comprehensive information on the disease burden of two of the least studied infectious diseases in this age group in Europe: Pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli. Reviewing existing literature and interviewing national disease experts helped to select these two diseases and identify the most suitable methods and data sources to accurately capture the burden of infectious diseases in elderly in Europe.

The study will use real world data relating to patient health status and/or the delivery of health care, routinely collected from a variety of sources such as electronic healthcare record databases. The pilot of the study will be based on databases from the Valencia Region of Spain (FISABIO) and Denmark (SSI). The two regions have high potential of capturing a near-complete picture, even though the regions are significantly different in terms of data sources and healthcare organization. They expect to obtain very detailed data about burden of disease, including incidence rates, disability durations, mortality rates, healthcare resource consumption, antimicrobial susceptibility, etc. The team can use collected data of more than 4 million persons collected during a 9-year period.

“I am confident that Europe will have a vaccination program for adults soon that will save millions of lives and increase the quality of life for the elderly. For that, we need the scientific evidence from the VITAL project. Having the opportunity to participate in this project is a privilege.”

The results obtained will show a picture of the burden of these two diseases in Europe in this age group and will establish a protocol to study more infectious diseases in other regions. All this will provide evidence to create a vaccination program for aging adults in Europe.

About Work package 1

The goal  of the Work package is to deliver a more complete understanding of the epidemiology, risk factors and burden of disease of existing vaccine-preventable (VP) and upcoming potential vaccine-preventable (PVP) infectious diseases in these populations via a consistent, comprehensive data collection approach that builds on and extends existing information. Read more about Work Package 1.