Volume 29, Supplement 1, Pages A1-A50 (1 July 2011)
Transfer of Technology for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Production in Developing Countries
Edited by Ray Spier
[13 articles covering this theme are presented in this supplement; the first two articles are included below]
WHO initiative to increase global and equitable access to influenza vaccine in the event of a pandemic: Supporting developing country production capacity through technology transfer
Martin Friede, Laszlo Palkonyay, Claudia Alfonso, Yuri Pervikov, Guido Torelli, David Wood, Marie Paule Kieny
Should a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, such as the H5N1 virus type currently circulating in birds, become transmissible among humans, an effective vaccine, rapidly available in vast quantities, would be the best tool to prevent high case-fatalities and the breakdown of health and social services. The number of vaccine doses that could be produced on demand has risen sharply over the last few years; however, it is still alarmingly short of the 13 billion doses that would be needed if two doses were required to protect fully the world’s population. Most developing countries would be last in the queue to benefit from a pandemic vaccine. The World Health Organization, together with governments, the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders, has been implementing the global pandemic influenza action plan to increase vaccine supply since 2006. Building capacity in developing countries to manufacture influenza vaccine is an integral part of this plan, as well as research and development into more efficacious technologies, e.g. those that allow significant dose-sparing. To this end, the influenza vaccine technology transfer initiative was launched in 2007 and, to date, vaccine manufacturers in 11 developing countries have received grants to acquire the capacity to produce inactivated or live attenuated influenza vaccine for their populations. In addition, a centralized ‘hub’ has been established to facilitate training in the new technologies for scientists and regulators in the countries. This supplement of Vaccine is devoted to showcasing the interim results of the WHO initiative and the impressive progress made by the developing country manufacturers.