BARDA funding to support flu vaccine production in Vietnam

PATH has received an award from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support the enhancement of sustainable influenza vaccine production in Vietnam.

BARDA is providing the full $7.9 million in funding, which builds upon support that BARDA is providing to the World Health Organization to help Vietnam, and other countries, prepare for eventual licensure and commercial-scale manufacturing of influenza vaccines.

PATH, an international nonprofit global health organization, will collaborate with various groups in Vietnam, including the government of Vietnam and vaccine manufacturers, to assist in the production and clinical development of safe and effective influenza vaccines.

PATH officials hope the project can also serve as a model for other efforts to build local production of influenza vaccines in developing countries.

In other news, Drs. Rick Bright and Kathleen Neuzil from PATH’s influenza vaccine project co-authored a conference report recently published in Vaccine, which summarizes the WHO meeting held in Portugal in 2008 on the role of neuraminidase in inducing protective immunity against influenza infection. The meeting set the stage for further dialogue on the topic, including a recent follow-up meeting in 2009 in Cannes, France. Neuzil also recently co-authored an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which commented on encouraging new immunogenicity data on pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccines for children.