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J&J commits to Ebola vaccine research and doctor training program

Updated: 2015-01-15 07:44
By Cai Xiao (China Daily)

Johnson & Johnson, the US pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer products giant, is developing a preventive Ebola vaccine and offering funds and training to Chinese doctors working in areas most affected by the disease.

More than 1,000 Chinese medical workers have been working or will be dispatched to areas affected by the outbreak.

"Johnson & Johnson is honored to participate in these activities to show our respect to the Chinese doctors, and we will continue to give them professional services and other support," said Jesse Wu, chairman of Johnson& Johnson China.

The company recently started the first phase of human clinical trials for the preventive vaccine. J&J first started research into a preventive Ebola vaccine in 2002, and invested a further $200 million in that work in October.

It has so far produced more than 400,000 doses of the vaccine for use in large-scale clinical trials.

A total of 2 million doses will be available throughout 2015, with the ability to quickly scale that up to 5 million doses if required over the next 12 to 18 months.

The company is also providing Chinese doctors and nurses in Africa with professional training on fighting the disease, and online advice to teams working in various countries.

J&J is currently sponsoring a national campaign in China to highlight doctors working on foreign aid programs.

Organizers include the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Xie Yuan, vice-president of the association, said the campaign is aimed at showcasing outstanding medical aid work by individuals and groups.

It will last for three months with the best work chosen through a committee of experts and onine voting by the public. The final result will be released at an awards ceremony on March 24.

The Ebola crisis started in West Africa last year. More than 20,000 people are believed to have been infected by the virus and at least 7,840 had died by the end of December, according to the World Health Organization.

Since entering the Chinese market in 1985, J&J has supported numerous public welfare activities, including children's safety education, aiding the treatment of children with cleft palates, the health education of migrant workers' children, and doctor training in Western China.

Alex Gorsky, the company's CEO, said in November that it planned to focus on lung cancer research and development in China by setting up an Asia innovation center in Shanghai.

J&J commits to Ebola vaccine research and doctor training program

A doctor from the People's Liberation Army medical team checks a patient suspected to be suffering from Ebola, in Monrovia, Liberia in December 2014.
Jiang Heng / Xinhua

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