“Yellow fever outbreaks in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda are placing unprecedented demands on vaccine supply,” Jon Abramson, chair of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group, said in a statement earlier this month.
If the outbreak spreads further, there will not be enough vaccines in the global stockpile and so the organisation is considering measures such as fractional dosing as a short-term measure.
But Sanofi Pasteur – the major contributor to the global stockpile, funded by Vaccine Alliance Gavi – could help alleviate the problem through its new French facilities which began producing Stamaril, its yellow fever vaccine used in Africa, earlier this year.
“In 2011, in line with the company’s commitment to improve supply reliability, Sanofi Pasteur invested heavily in the construction of new Stamaril production facilities in Val-de-Reuil, France, to better meet future supply commitments and provide an uninterrupted supply of yellow fever vaccine,” spokesperson Julia Jara told Biopharma-Reporter.com.
“The new facilities, inaugurated in 2014 and approved in early 2016, are specifically set to double Stamaril production in the years to come while meeting the highest quality standards.”
11 million doses so far in 2016
The first Stamaril vaccines made from the new building were shipped to Angola in April this year. In total Sanofi says it has shipped more than 11 million doses of the vaccine to Africa in the first six months of 2016.
“Additional Stamaril doses are in stock at the Val de Reuil site, and we are working alongside international organisations to ensure that these doses are made available in the shortest possible time frame to people who need them, be they populations living in endemic or affected areas, or international travelers.”
Currently, Sanofi contributes two-thirds of the yearly stockpile’s six million doses, as defined by the International Crisis Group (ICG). According to Jara, Stamaril is the only WHO-prequalified yellow fever vaccine to have succeeded in maintaining an uninterrupted status since the product was prequalified in 1987.
Currently there are three other vaccines prequalified by the WHO. These are made by Brazil's Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz, Russia's Federal State Unitary Enterprise of Chumakov Institute of Poliomyelitis and Viral Encephalitides of Russian Acad, and Senegal's Institut Pasteur de Dakar.