News / Health

WHO Says World Better Prepared for Next Influenza Pandemic

A child visiting a relative at a jail receives a dose of influenza A (H1N1) vaccine in Ciudad Juarez (File Photo)
A child visiting a relative at a jail receives a dose of influenza A (H1N1) vaccine in Ciudad Juarez (File Photo)
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization says the world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic than it was in the past. More than 100 public health experts have wrapped up a three-day meeting in Geneva to review a Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines that was developed in 2006, and to develop a strategic plan of action for the next five years.  .  
The 2006 Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines was triggered in response to the H1N1 influenza outbreaks in May 2006. It aims to help countries increase their ability to protect their population from influenza pandemic.  

The centerpiece of the plan, known as GAP I, was to strengthen the capacity of manufacturers to provide enough vaccines to immunize the world’s population against influenza.

WHO Assistant Director-General on Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research Marie-Paule Kieny says there have been a number of successes.   They include new developments in production methods, new rules governing vaccine delivery and progress toward, what she calls the holy grail of influenza vaccination, the development of a universal vaccine.  

She notes pandemic vaccine production has increased markedly from 350 million doses in 2006 to more than 800 million doses now.  She says the Global Action Plan also has changed the landscape of vaccine production.  

She tells VOA the Global Action Plan is helping manufacturers in 11 developing countries produce or increase production of influenza vaccines through financial and technology transfers.  

“What we have already done, the global community, and we are continuing to do is to make sure that not only will there be more influenza pandemic vaccine if need be, but also that the site where these vaccines will be produced will be more diverse geographically," said Marie-Paule Kieny. "And thanks to this diversity more populations of the world will have earlier access to pandemic vaccines of what was the case in the past.”  

Dr. Kieny says no one can predict when the next pandemic will occur. She notes vaccines can only be produced at the time the virus is known. This means manufacturers are always in a race against time to produce large quantities of an effective vaccine as quickly as possible.

During the H1N1 pandemic, she says manufacturers in developing countries did not have the ability to produce a pandemic vaccine quickly. She cites the example of India, where it took several manufacturers about a year to make a vaccine available.

“They now have the technology in place and would be capable, like their counterparts, like large manufacturers who have started immediately at the time of the pandemic and had vaccines available three months after that," said Marie-Paule Kieny. "They are now in a position where they can also go for the same objective-start at the time of a pandemic and have a vaccine available within three months.”  

The World Health Organization reports the nearly 40 manufacturers around the world producing pandemic vaccines originate mainly in industrialized countries. But it says more companies are springing up in low and middle-income countries.

It says new production of pandemic vaccines are established in Brazil, Korea, India and Romania. And, the establishment of new manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccine is ongoing in Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Serbia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs