Well, it reads a bit much like advertorial, and it’s going to stretch my medical vocab (in both English and Chinese), but here’s an odd little article boasting of Beijing’s ability to produce H1N1 vaccine on a large scale:

北京有能力大规模生产猪流感疫苗

Beijing has capacity for large-scale production of swine flu vaccine

北京已具备大规模生产猪流感疫苗的能力,疫苗年产量可达2000万支。记者昨天从北京科兴公司获悉,该公司的大流行流感疫苗生产线可针对最新出现的H1N1型猪流感病毒,迅速采用以该毒株为模型构建的生产用毒种进行疫苗生产,无需重新进行疫苗的研发和临床研究。

Beijing already has the capacity for large-scale production of a swine flu vaccine, with annual production of up to 20 million vaccines. This reporter learnt from the SINOVAC Biotech yesterday that the company’s pandemic influenza production line can respond to the latest strain of H1N1 swine flu to appear, quickly using this strain as a model for using this strain, using the virus to undertake vaccine production. There is no need to carry out new vaccine research and development or clinical studies.

“自猪流感疫情出现以来,我们一直密切关注疫情的发展,也积极与相关国际组织取得联系,争取获得更多的资源和信息以分析进行疫苗研发的可行性。”科兴公司 有关负责人透露,目前已获得相关部门的反馈信息,并设置专人负责与中国疾控中心、国家药监局以及相关国际组织保持沟通,以确保在国内有需求时,能第一时间 获得毒种进行疫苗的制备。

“Since the appearance of the swine flu epidemic, we have been paying close attention to its development and actively developing contacts with related international organsations, striving to obtain more resources and information to analyse the feasibility of carrying out vaccine research and development.” The relevant person in charge at SINOVAC revealed that they had already received feedback from the relevant departments, and had assigned a person to take charge of maintaining communications with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Food and Drug Administration, and relevant international organisations to ensure that virus seed for vaccine production can be obtained as soon as it is needed in China.

目前,世界卫生组织正在积极从人感染猪流感患者体内分离毒株,进而通过筛选制备出可供生产新疫苗的毒株,该毒株制备时间大约需要1个月左右。记者了解到, 一旦获得可供制备疫苗的毒株,科兴公司便可以按照特别审批程序,在国家药监局批准后立即启动生产。从获得新毒株到拿到疫苗批签发合格证书,大约需要4个月 时间。

At present, the World Health Organisation is actively separating the strain of virus from samples taken from victims of human swine flu, and after screening will prepare a strain which can be supplied for new vaccine production. About one month will be needed for preparation of this strain. This reporter learned that as soon as a strain for vaccine preparation is obtained, SINOVAC, according to special procedures for examination and approval, after the approval of the SFDA, immediately start production. From obtaining the virus strain to issuing the standard certificate will take about 4 months.

北京科兴公司曾为“非典”和禽流感研制生产疫苗,该公司研制的大流行流感疫苗已经于2008年4月获得生产批件,并承担了北京奥运会及国家储备的任务。此 前在国家发改委等部门的支持下形成了年产2000万支大流行流感疫苗的生产能力。这意味着北京科兴公司已经具备了生产大流行流感疫苗的技术条件和生产能 力。

SINOVAC has developed vacciines for SARS and bird flu, and received its production licence for the pandemic influenza vaccines it develops in April, 2008, and has assumed responsibility for the Beijing Olympics and State stocks. With the support of the State Development and Reform Committee and other departments it has formed and annual production capacity of 20 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine. This shows SINOVAC already has the technological conditions and production capacity to produce pandemic influenza vaccines.

Right, so there’s a few of the more convoluted and/or technical sentences that I have definitely fluffed, so as always, corrections are welcome.

And as I said, it reads to me a bit much like advertorial, something put out there to reassure the populace that we’re all perfectly safe… But I’m not sure I feel reassured by that “no need to carry out new vaccine research and development or clinical studies” in the last sentence of the first paragraph.

Oh, and SINOVAC’s website seems to have more relevant information here, especially the stuff in red.

6 Responses to “vaccine confidence? over-confidence?”

  1. Daniel Howard Says:

    The Chinese Government is like that guy who is turning from shy introverted nerd to budding socialite, but he’s still all insecure about his many years of wedgies and he’s kinda scared the girls don’t like him because he hasn’t really gotten laid yet so he’s always trying to impress everybody with like the size of his economic stimulus package or his capacity to produce swine flu vaccine.

    But that stuff doesn’t get you laid.

    All the same, I’m happy to cheer ‘m on.

    -d

  2. wangbo Says:

    Interesting way of putting it. And yeah, when they’re doing good stuff like preparing for pandemics, I’m cheering them on, too.

  3. Michael Says:

    All they’re really saying here is that they have the same influenza vaccine manufacturing process as about 20 other companies worldwide, including CSL in Melbourne. It’s a fairly standard method in which the latest influenza strains are isolated, purified and then grown on a large scale in chicken eggs, to be included in a generic vaccine. As they point out, it takes months to do this – about the same duration as the average flu season – hence the reason why the rest of the world makes its vaccine six months in advance. And given that the H1N1 virus, now no longer appears to be a highly lethal form of flu there is a question mark over whether we need emergency vaccine production to fight it.

  4. wangbo Says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Michael. I guess if it’s a tried-and-true standardised process, there’s no need to worry. And yes, the time spans did have me wondering… if this goes pandemic, I hope it takes a good four or five months at least to hit Beijing.

    “now no longer appears to be a highly lethal form of flu”

    Yeah, I’ve found it hard to get excited about the numbers of deaths reported. I’m starting to think a trip to Mexico might be the easiest way to get myself vaccinated.

  5. Daniel Howard Says:

    To be sure, I heard on NPR that the interesting bit will be whether H1N1 mutates into a more virulent form for the fall flu season. We get all scared at the end of April, then laugh at our over-reaction, then we get smacked in September.

  6. wangbo Says:

    I’m looking forward to it.