BEIJING — Last month the World Health Organization issued an obscure ruling with the potential to transform China’s vaccine industry – and with it, the health of the world’s poorest children.
China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Beijing-based firm, became the first-ever Chinese vaccine manufacturer to receive WHO “pre-qualification,” a global seal of approval for quality, safety and efficacy. This designation allows CNBG to sell its vaccine against Japanese encephalitis to international agencies that purchase vaccines for people in low-income countries.
The milestone represents a leap forward for control of a mosquito-borne disease that kills 15,000 children each year and causes permanent brain damage in thousands more. But the vaccine has the potential to be an even bigger leap for Chinese industry.