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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
CHINA; UNITED STATES: China Vaccine Maker Joins Aeras in Fight Against TB
Tan Ee Lyn
January 19, 2012
Reuters (01.17.12) - Thursday, January 19, 2012

The China National Biotech Group (CNBG) is joining with the nonprofit TB vaccine development group Aeras to design new vaccines against the disease. China has identified TB as one of its top priorities, given its high burden of the disease.

"Our cooperation with Aeras includes vaccine design, pre- clinical research, clinical trials, production and sales," said Yang Xiaoming, CNBG's president. "The ideal vaccine should guard against all strains of TB, including drug- resistant strains." Both parties will screen their catalogs to identify the most promising candidates, said Jim Connolly, president and CEO of US-based Aeras.

"From where we are, to develop a vaccine in China is going to take at least seven to 10 years," Connolly said. "The cost to develop vaccines ultimately goes into tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, both in direct costs of developing it as well as the costs of all the failures. They have a very strong emerging technical capability, and the government has financial resources." If a product advances to clinical trials, these will include patients from China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa, Connolly said. "This is not developing vaccines just for China, but also to be used in other parts of the world," and making the vaccine affordable to patients everywhere, he said.