Monday, June 15, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine on the Way

With the swine flu now declared a pandemic, several drug companies are actively working toward developing a vaccine. Last week, GlaxoSmithKline stated that it will soon begin large-scale vaccine production; Sanofi-Aventis is also developing one and Novartis has an experimental vaccine already, but it has not been tested in humans.

The WHO estimates that 2.4 billion doses of swine flu vaccine should be available in about 1 year. The challenge will be making sure the vaccine is evenly distributed throughout the world. Currently, the aim is to provide 10% of the global vaccine supply to poor and developing countries- this is especially important since individuals with preexisting health conditions (prevalent in developing countries) will be more susceptible to swine flu. Whether this will actually happen is up for debate since in past pandemics, most vaccines have remained in the countries where they were developed.

Source: Maria Cheng, "Drugmakers rush to produce a swine flu vaccine", The Associated Press, June 12, 2009.

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