China to ramp up epidemic vax system

To improve its ability to cope with epidemic emergencies, China says it will spend $1.45 billion to develop a national vaccine provision system. The goal is to create a system that can supply vaccines for regular use and that has the capacity to cope with epidemics.

Officials say the system should be set up by 2015 and expect it will accommodate "major epidemic situations as quickly and effectively as those found in developed countries"  5 years later, according to Xinhuanet.  It will provide not only increased vaccine production capacity but also improved epidemic monitoring and additional R&D, the report says.

Although China uses the current epidemic-response capabilities of developed countries as a benchmark, it may want to shoot a bit higher. The Chinese goals are similar to those of the U.S., as outlined in the 2010 National Vaccine Plan. It also calls for surge capacity during epidemics, faster manufacturing via new, non-egg-based production processes and additional R&D.  

Earlier this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office calculated U.S. spending of $2.1 billion in support of new vax-making technology since 2005.

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