Grants to Build Flu Vaccine Production in Six Developing Countries

The World Health Organization yesterday said six developing countries are getting grants to create manufacturing capacity for flu vaccine. The six are Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, and Viet Nam. As much as $2.5 million from the governments of Japan and the United States will go to each country immediately to begin the process of acquiring the needed technology. Japan has provided $8 million and the United States $10 million for technology transfer.

"I am proud the United States, through my department, was able to contribute $10 million to support this funding," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said yesterday. "The current global manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccine is far short of the capacity needed to protect the world's six billion people in the event of an influenza pandemic. In the United States, we have been making significant investments in vaccine research and development and in expanding influenza vaccine production surge capacity, including $1.3 billion in cell-based vaccine and antigen-sparing influenza advanced development efforts. These investments will likely benefit not only citizens of the United States, but also citizens of the world."

"It is imperative that the global community works collectively to ensure more equitable access to a vaccine and other health measures in the event of an influenza pandemic. We all have a responsibility to protect global public health security," said Dr. David L. Heymann, WHO assistant director-general for Communicable Diseases. "Global public health security can only be realized if developing countries are assisted in developing the capabilities to access pandemic vaccines and protect their populations."

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