The potential economic value of a Trypanosoma cruzi (chagas disease) vaccine in Latin America

Bruce Y. Lee, Kristina M. Bacon, Diana L. Connor, Alyssa M. Willig, Rachel R. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background:Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), is the leading etiology of non-ischemic heart disease worldwide, with Latin America bearing the majority of the burden. This substantial burden and the limitations of current interventions have motivated efforts to develop a vaccine against T. cruzi. Methodology/Principal Findings: We constructed a decision analytic Markov computer simulation model to assess the potential economic value of a T. cruzi vaccine in Latin America from the societal perspective. Each simulation run calculated the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), or the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) avoided, of vaccination. Sensitivity analyses evaluated the impact of varying key model parameters such as vaccine cost (range: $0.50-$200), vaccine efficacy (range: 25%-75%), the cost of acutephase drug treatment (range: $10-$150 to account for variations in acutephase treatment regimens), and risk of infection (range: 1%-20%). Additional analyses determined the incremental cost of vaccinating an individual and the cost per averted congestive heart failure case. Vaccination was considered highly cost-effective when the ICER was ≤1 times the GDP/capita, still cost-effective when the ICER was between 1 and 3 times the GDP/capita, and not cost-effective when the ICER was.>3 times the GDP/capita. Our results showed vaccination to be very cost-effective and often economically dominant (i.e., saving costs as well providing health benefits) for a wide range of scenarios, e.g., even when risk of infection was as low as 1% and vaccine efficacy was as low as 25%. Vaccinating an individual could likely provide net cost savings that rise substantially as risk of infection or vaccine efficacy increase. Conclusions/Significance:Results indicate that a T. cruzi vaccine could provide substantial economic benefit, depending on the cost of the vaccine, and support continued efforts to develop a human vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere916
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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