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Racing against the clock to distribute H1N1 flu vaccine

02.10.2009
Drug companies are sprinting ahead in a race against the clock to deliver millions of doses of vaccine for the H1N1 influenza virus before cooler weather ushers in the 2009-2010 flu season. A two-part cover story in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS' weekly newsmagazine, focuses on that topic and efforts to develop antiviral drugs for flu infections.

C&EN senior correspondent Ann Thayer cites World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world's population — 2.2 billion people — will be exposed to the H1N1 virus.

Although antiviral drugs can help limit the spread of H1N1, a vaccine offers the best means to prevent infection, the article notes.

Although the H1N1 virus just emerged in April, vaccine developers have made an effective vaccine. However, WHO says that only a fraction of the potential supply will be ready for distribution before flu season starts — in October in the Northern Hemisphere.

The article describes how at least nine countries have pledged to donate vaccines to help fight the pandemic in developing countries and two vaccine manufacturers have earmarked a portion of their production for developing countries.

That generosity will help protect populations that otherwise would not have access to vaccines, the article notes.

Michael Woods | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

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