Novartis produces first batch of swine flu vaccine
Swiss company completes vaccine for pre-clinical trials weeks ahead of expectations.Basel -- Swiss drugs giant Novartis has completed a first batch of swine flu vaccine for pre-clinical trials and aims to make a version available in the fall, the company said on Friday.
"Novartis has successfully completed the production of the first batch of influenza A(H1N1) vaccine, weeks ahead of expectations," the company said in a statement.
The 10 litre batch "will be used for pre-clinical evaluation and testing and is also being considered for use in clinical trials," it said.
Novartis hopes to start clinical trials in July and "expects licensure in the fall of 2009," it said.
It added that "more than 30 governments have made requests to Novartis to supply them with influenza A(H1N1) vaccine ingredients."
The company used cell technology to produce the vaccine, a faster method than the traditional technology that uses eggs, according to Novartis.
Novartis received USD 289 million (EUR 206.8 million) last month from the US Department of Health and Human Services for the development of the vaccine.
The World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic on Thursday, ratcheting up its alert to the maximum level of six.
Swine flu has infected people almost 30,000 people in 75 countries and claimed 144 lives since it was first detected in Mexico in April.
AFP / Expatica