Tuesday, May 20, 2008

GlaxoSmithKline approved to sell bird flu vaccine in Europe

From CBC News:
British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline says it has received regulatory approval to sell its H5N1 bird flu vaccine to European countries.

The pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccine, to be sold under the name Prepandrix, will be marketed to countries seeking to stockpile the vaccine in the event of a human bird flu pandemic.

"This vaccine marks a significant step in the world's ability to cope with an influenza pandemic," GSK chief Jean-Pierre Garnier said in a release Monday.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu mainly affects birds, although the World Health Organization has reported 382 human cases of H5N1 infection from 14 countries resulting in 241 deaths, according to GSK's release. Scientists are watching for signs it has mutated into a form that transmits easily between humans, which could lead to a global pandemic.

Governments in Switzerland and Finland have both signed contracts for vaccine to stockpile, while the Untied States has said it plans to hoard enough of the drug to protect 20 million people. Canada has chosen not to stockpile immunizations, although its current contract with GSK gives it first access to any vaccine manufactured at the company's facility in Ste-Foy, Que., if a pandemic strikes. ...more

No comments: