China has produced its first vaccine to gain prequalified approval from the World Health Organisation.
The vaccine works against Japanese encephalitis and is manufactured by Chengdu Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, which is affiliated with China National Biotec Group Co Ltd.
The WHO's stamp of approval for the vaccine's safety and efficacy means United Nations procuring agencies can now source it, according to WHO officials.
It only needs to be given in one dose, can be used for infants and is less expensive than other Japanese encephalitis vaccines.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the vaccine "is a welcome development both in the fight to protect children in developing countries from Japanese encephalitis and in the future availability of vaccines more generally, as China is now producing vaccines up to WHO standards.
"There is a huge potential for the manufacture of vaccines in China and we hope to see more and more Chinese vaccines become prequalified by the WHO. The whole world will benefit," she noted.
The WHO recently added the vaccine to its list of prequalified medicines. According to the China State Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, China's development, production and quality control of vaccines have won broad international recognition.
More importantly, the administration said, the latest WHO prequalification will make it easier to save children in developing countries and help China's vaccine industry better tap into international markets.