Thailand, the co-creation of a joint network of National Control Laboratories (NCLs) with WHO SEARO and WHO WPRO countries to prepare the regional reference standards for vaccines.

       Thailand, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), organized a meeting of a network of NCLs to monitor the progress on the preparation of the regional working reference standards for vaccines, and on the expansion of the partnership network in two regions.

        Dr. Sukum Karnchanapimai, Director-General, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health, reported that the Department of Medical Sciences together with the WHO organized the meeting for the “Network of the National Control Laboratories (NCLs) of South-East Asia” on December 13-15, 2016. The meeting consisted of 26 participants from the WHO headquarters, the WHO South East Asia Regional Office (WHO SEARO), the WHO West Pacific Regional Office (WHO WPRO), the NCLs of Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as experts from the National Institute of Biological Standardization and Control, United Kingdom. The objective of the meeting was to review the progress report and management of regional reference standards against poliomyelitis and Japanese encephalitis (JE), including establishing regional working reference standards (RWRS) with the West Pacific Region. This joint network will benefit through information sharing and experience sharingduring the preparation of reference standardsfor each country and will strengthen National Regulatory Authorities/ NCLs for mutually comparable testing results across the regions, resulting in increasing standards for domestic and regional products, as well as international recognition.

        This meeting continued the theme of the project “preparation of RWRS for vaccines”, said Dr. Karnchanapimai. The project was initialized in B.E. 2547 through a joint meeting between the NCLs of vaccine-producing countries in Southeast Asia included India, Indonesia and Thailand, which was heldin Bangkokand subsidized by the WHO. This meeting’s purpose was to solve the shortage of international reference standards since those supported by the WHO were inadequate for the demand; and some reference standards wereused in specific regions only. The meeting resolution was to establish the NCL network to assist with the development and preparation of regional reference standards for vaccines. Subsequently, the project has been approved under the auspices of the WHO SEARO. Currently, there are 3 kinds of RWRS assigned values by collaborative studies; these are RWRS against pertussis in B.E. 2555, poliomyelitis type I in B.E. 2556 and live JE in B.E. 2558, all of which are kept at the central storage of RWRS for vaccines, Institute of Biological Products, Department of Medical Sciences. At a meeting in B.E. 2555, the network expanded to the WHO WPRO countries in order to prepare bi-regional reference standards. The consensus of the meeting agreed on the establishment of bi-regional cooperation, and the draft MOU and TOR were proposed by a representative from WHO SEARO. Finally, participants agreed to distribute the revised MOU and TOR to top management of each country for further consideration before signing the agreement at a future date.

Supaporn Phumiamorn (Ph.D, Virology)
Institute of Biological Products,
Department of Medical Sciences,
Ministry of Public Health,Thailand