BARDA is providing the WHO with $6.4m (€5.0m) to cooperatively develop influenza vaccine production capacity in under-resourced nations.
Since beginning in 2006 the project has supported capacity and capability improvements in a number of countries. Securing funding will support continuation of this work and ultimately better equip selected developing countries to protect their citizens against influenza.
The Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is providing the funding. It will also work collaboratively with the World Health Organization (WHO) and provide it with human resources.
Over the past four years BARDA has provided the WHO with $28m which has been used to support projects in a number of countries, including Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia.
The WHO will decide how the new funding is allocated based upon the progress of existing projects and the merit of new applications. Africa, Central Asia and live attenuated vaccine platforms are areas of particular interest.
A recent, high-profile example of the impact of the project is the development of a live attenuated H1N1 vaccine in India. This WHO supported programme has seen India develop, manufacture and launch an intra-nasal H1N1 vaccine.
Each country receiving support has different needs and existing capabilities. Consequently, work supported to date has varied from country-to-country, from headline grabbing developments such as India’s H1N1 vaccine to more basic, but nonetheless important, projects.
For instance, Indonesia has developed fill and finish capabilities and trained its workforce with support from the project. Thailand has built a pilot plant, as well as training staff, while Mexico and Brazil have upgraded existing facilities.
BARDA collaborates with the WHO on the establishment and monitoring of these projects. The WHO has a technical advisory group, including BARDA employees, which reviews the project. In addition, staff from the HHS and WHO perform joint site visits.
The $6.4m funding will be spent over 2010 and 2011. Currently, the project is due to run to September 2013 with funding being decided each year based on requirements. Continuation beyond 2013 relies on funding being made available beyond this data.