China Approves New Polio Vaccine, Shows Innovative Muscle

Thursday, January 15, 2015

China has approved a new polio vaccine, the first of its kind to be produced in the country, a month after local authorities gave the green light for a home-grown Ebola vaccine amid Beijing’s push to become a world leader in producing innovative drugs.

The development drew praise from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday who said the vaccine, which will be given to Chinese children as part of routine disease prevention, would help the global fight against the polio virus.

China’s private and state-run medical laboratories have been growing in sophistication, helping reduce reliance on imported medicines and competing with global rivals.

“This new vaccine is a critically important weapon in the fight against polio as the world nears the eradication of this dreaded disease,” Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO representative in China, said in a statement.

China technically eradicated polio in 2000, but there have been outbreaks of the disease in the country since.

China’s drug regulator approved the new vaccine, called Ai Bi Wei, on Wednesday, according to a statement from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). The vaccine was developed by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

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