KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- bioCSL, formerly CSL Biotherapies, has announced the donation of more than 700,000 doses of its influenza vaccine to the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction, an innovative program - spearheaded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Task Force for Global Health (TFGH) - that helps low- and middle-income countries reduce annual morbidity and mortality from influenza. The program helps eligible countries create or expand public vaccination program infrastructures within their borders. This year marks the second consecutive year that bioCSL has donated vaccine to the program.
"Influenza is a common viral infection that can sometimes result in serious complications," said Marie Mazur, President, bioCSL Inc. "For this reason, it is critical that influenza vaccine is made available to everyone - especially in areas of the world where robust healthcare systems are not in place to facilitate the acquisition and distribution of vaccine. The Partnership is actively addressing this need on a large scale, and we at bioCSL are pleased to be partnering in this effort for the second year in a row by making a significant donation of our vaccine."
Influenza, commonly called "the flu," causes upwards of 49,000 deaths annually in the U.S., and tens of thousands more around the world, mostly among high risk populations, which can include the elderly, those with pre-existing diseases such as asthma and diabetes, and pregnant women. It is also a frequent cause of hospitalizations due to pneumonia and other life-threatening complications.
According to the CDC, research has shown that getting vaccinated is the best way for each individual to reduce the threat of contracting influenza. The Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction began as a pilot program in Laos in 2011, winning the CDC Director's Award for Innovation, and has expanded each year since, adding new partners, new countries and additional patient populations. With the effort's significant impact, several other countries have made requests to participate.
"This year's vaccination campaign in Laos would not be possible without the flu vaccine donations provided by private organizations," said Dr. Joseph Bresee, Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC's Influenza Division. "Private donors' contributions allow eligible countries to establish and expand their own annual influenza vaccination programs with guidance from CDC, Task Force for Global Health, World Health Organization and other public health partners. In short, vaccine donations are absolutely critical to the mission."
According to the CDC, influenza outbreaks tend to follow regular seasonal patterns, which vary in different geographies. Flu season in Laos begins approximately in June, making the bioCSL donation especially timely, and the company notes that supplies will begin shipping soon.
About bioCSL Inc.
bioCSL Inc., located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is the United States headquarters of bioCSL. Parent company, CSL Limited, has manufactured influenza vaccine in its Melbourne, Australia, facility since 1968. CSL Limited has made a $60 million (U.S.D.) investment in plant and equipment to double capacity at its Melbourne facility, making it one of the largest vaccine manufacturing facilities in the world. CSL-branded influenza vaccines are approved in 28 countries. At bioCSL Inc., delivering vaccines is our mission, protecting lives our passion. The CSL Group, which also includes CSL Research & Development, CSL Plasma, and CSL Behring, has more than 11,000 employees globally and operates in 26 countries around the world.
SOURCE bioCSL Inc.