The first ever vaccine which may help save children from the deadly Japanese encephalitis has now been approved for use by the World Health Organization.
The vaccine, manufactured by the Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, has received WHO prequalification, which means it meets international standards for quality, safety and efficacy.
According to China Daily, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said that the move from China, which is producing vaccines up to WHO standards, is a welcome development, both in the fight to protect children in developing countries from the virus and in the future availability of vaccines more generally.
She said that there is a huge potential for vaccine manufacture in China, adding that she hopes to see more Chinese vaccines get WHO prequalification. The whole world will benefit.
The GAVI Alliance, a public-private global health partnership committed to saving children and increasing access to immunization in poor countries, said it is preparing to make funding available for the vaccine, the report said.
CEO Seth Berkley said that the Chinese vaccine industry has huge potential to benefit children in the poorest countries by offering secure, predictable supply at affordable prices, the report added.
The GAVI Alliance brings together governments, the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, vaccine industries in industrialized and developing countries, research and technical agencies and civil societies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Japanese encephalitis is a vicious illness that strikes quickly and usually has a devastating impact on children and their families, Berkley said.