China's growing vaccine industry scored again on Friday when the World Health Organization green-lighted a Chinese flu vaccine.
The WHO said it had prequalified the vaccine, manufactured by Hualan Biological Bacterin. It is the second Chinese-made vaccine to be prequalified. The first was a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, approved in October 2013.
A WHO prequalification is an approval of safety and efficacy and means that United Nations procuring agencies can now source the vaccine.
The approval shows China's progress as a potential powerhouse in the vaccine manufacturing realm. It "shows that the country is set to become one of the preeminent vaccine manufacturers globally," Bernhard Schwartländer, WHO representative in China, said in a statement. The news comes at a time when the country is cracking down on corruption and other illegal activity.
According to a Hualan Bio statement, the company is the largest flu vaccine manufacturer in China. It can produce more than 300 million single-dose vaccines and more than 50 million three-dose vaccine regimens annually, Hualan Bio said in the statement.
Hualan joins the likes of GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY), Novartis ($NVS) and South Korea's Green Cross, whose seasonal flu vaccines are also prequalified by the WHO. But Novartis is divesting its flu vaccine business to Australia's CSL, and Glaxo had to pull all doses of its FluLaval in April due to potency problems.