An innovative collaboration between PATH and the Chengdu Institute of Biological Products Co. Ltd (CDIBP) has resulted in the first Chinese vaccine product to receive the World Health Organization’s prequalification, essentially a stamp of approval for the vaccine’s use in preventing Japanese encephalitis in children. Though Japanese encephalitis is little known in the West, it kills about 15,000 people in Asia every year and leaves thousands more with permanent brain damage. Most of its victims are children.
CIDBP has been a regional supplier of Japanese encephalitis vaccine since 1988, producing the best vaccines for that disease in China. However, its reach was limited, and in order to make the vaccine available outside of China, CDIBP had to achieve international manufacturing standards and get prequalification from the WHO, which would allow UN agencies to purchase the vaccine. PATH joined forces with CDIBP in 2003; the organization had been searching for a supplier of effective and safe vaccines. PATH was heavily involved in disease surveillance, and provided technical and financial support, to allow CDIBP to build a new manufacturing facility and negotiate an affordable price for the public sector.
And now, it’s a global health success.