A new vaccine against Japanese encephalitis has been added to WHO’s list of “prequalified” medicines.
The vaccine, manufactured in China, can be given in a single dose to infants and is less expensive than other Japanese encephalitis vaccines, according to a press release. As a result, the new vaccine will more easily protect children in developing countries from Japanese encephalitis.
“This is a welcome development both in the fight to protect children in developing countries from [Japanese encephalitis] and in the future availability of vaccines more generally, as China is now producing vaccines up to WHO standards,” Margaret Chan, MD, WHO director-general, said in a press release. “There is a huge potential for vaccine manufacture in China and we hope to see more Chinese vaccines become WHO prequalified. The whole world will benefit.”
Japanese encephalitis is a mosquito-borne flavivirus infection that causes inflammation of the brain. The disease is a serious public health problem that is seasonally prevalent in parts of China, the southeastern region of the Russian Federation, and South and Southeast Asia. The disease is preventable by proven effective vaccines.
The newly accessible vaccine is a product of several years of collaboration between WHO and vaccine production standards and regulation authorities in China.
Disclosure: Chan reports no relevant financial disclosures