Sinovac Biotech Company, a vaccine-focused biotech company in China, started efforts to manufacture A/H1N1 influenza vaccine for human use on Monday, after it received the flu strain samples from the WHO, reported Beijing News Tuesday.
There are another 10 Chinese drug companies that will obtain the flu strain samples "NYMCX-179A" from the WHO this week. China has a total of 11 drug companies that can produce seasonal flu vaccines, but Sinovac Biotech Company is the only one that can make pandemic flu vaccines.
On Monday, Sinovac Biotech Company announced it will share key techniques and cooperate with other flu vaccine producers in a bid to rapidly expand the vaccine production.
Also on the same day, the State Food and Drug Administration held a press conference, announcing it will organize and coordinate 11 drug companies in manufacturing vaccines in case of a pandemic of A/ H1N1 influenza.
Head of the biology production department under the State Food and Drug Administration, Yin Hongzhang, ensured the vaccines, which could be directly injected into the high-risk population, would be yielded by October 1. But he added that the experiments on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness are necessary before batch production.
Yin Hongzhang also predicted in case of a global epidemic, China's annual vaccine production capacity is expected to reach 360 million if all the eleven domestic drug companies are approved for the batch production of A/H1N1 vaccines.
Earlier, the drug administration noted that the WHO was not sure yet whether the A/H1N1 flu should be categorized as seasonal or pandemic, which was a problem for drug makers.