China Gives the World a Cheap Vaccine for a Child-killing Disease

China Gives the World a Cheap Vaccine for a Child-killing Disease

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Vaccine for Indias poor-PATHAn announcement this week confirmed China as a world leader in creating life-saving, inexpensive vaccines for the world. A Chinese manufacturer earned the World Health Organization’s stamp of approval for its production of the first practical vaccine for use in the developing world against Japanese encephalitis, a disease spread by mosquitoes that kills15,000 children every year and leaves tens of thousands more with permanent brain damage and paralysis.

For years, the only available vaccine against the disease was too impractical to use in poor countries, as well as too expensive—on the order of $250 or more per dose.

“Ten years ago, a nonprofit in Seattle, PATH, began looking for the best way to develop an affordable, easy-to-use vaccine and discovered that one country had already solved this problem,” according to Bill Gates. “The Chinese had vaccinated more than 200 million children with their own very affordable vaccine. But it was virtually unknown outside the country.”

PATH changed all that in 2006 when it partnered with the manufacturer, China National Biotec Group (CNBG) in 2006. Now the vaccine is licensed for use in 10 countries outside China and has reached more than 150 million people.

This week, China’s vaccine reached another milestone – WHO certification – which will enable millions more children to be protected from the disease. This designation means that the vaccine has met WHO’s rigorous standards for quality, safety and efficacy.

Best of all, the new vaccine is expected to be available for around 30 cents per dose, which is nearly 1/1000th of the original price tag on the vaccine.

Source: The Gates Notes

Photo credit: PATH