|| Home || Books || About ||



Links

News & Current Affairs

Pickering Post
Russia Today | World News
Blacklisted News
The Guardian UK
Huffington Post
Newmatilda
Daily Mail | Science
Inside Story
Voice of Russia | World News
Reuters | Breaking News
Psylords
New Scientist



Human Interest

The Crowhouse | Not AFL
Singularity Hub
Divine Cosmos
Wake Up World
Next Nature
Truth Now
Business Insider | SAI
Pure Energy Systems
True Tube | No Censorship

Sheeple




04 January 2014

The world needs made-in-China vaccines, despite a recent spate of deaths

A cheaper vaccine might hurt a little less.

China's ambition to become a major player in vaccines has hit a snag: the deaths of 17 newborn infants who had just received Chinese-made hepatitis B vaccines. Authorities have halted production at three of the country's largest vaccine manufacturers while autopsies are conducted, and have asked the World Health Organization to help investigate. The hepatitis B vaccine was made by Shenzhen-based BioKangta, and the infants were inoculated under a government-run health initiative.


The incident comes at an inconvenient time for Chinese drug makers who are trying to find a niche in an industry long dominated by a few international pharmaceutical giants. WHO granted its first 'pre-qualification' status in October to a Chinese firm, for China National Biotec Group's vaccine against Japanese encephalitis. It's easy to see why the vaccine market is attractive: Vaccine sales have reached $25 billion a year. Other Chinese producers of vaccines for meningitis, polio, and pneumonia are likely to seek WHO approval over the next decade, according to Jack Zhang of the US-based nonprofit PATH.


But the deaths, which may remind the world unfavorably of China's many food safety scandals and disease outbreaks, could threaten China's attempts. That's unfortunate since Chinese drugmakers have the potential to dramatically increase access to vaccines in developing countries. With over 30 companies producing about 1 billion doses of vaccines against 27 diseases a year, China already has the largest vaccine-manufacturing capacity in the world. Chinese vaccines, as well as those from India and other emerging markets are helping drive competition and lower prices.


The deaths may also hinder China's national immunization program, which administers vaccines for hepatitis B and other diseases for free and has been one of government's few sources of pride when it comes to national healthcare. Chinese parents are already jumpy in the wake of the thousands of infants sickened by tainted milk formula in 2008. It may not be long until we see a Western-style anti-vaccination movement in China.



Mobile Front Page





HTML Comment Box is loading comments...