WHO contacts Novartis for flu vaccine

29th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis may develop a vaccine against the swine flu virus.

ZURICH - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Monday said it was contacted by the World Health Organisation to develop a vaccine against the deadly swine flu virus.

"We are in contact with the WHO on the development of a vaccine," said a Novartis spokesman.

The contact is preliminary, however, as the group did not yet receive a sample of the virus to begin the research phase, which can take several months.

No decision was made about when development or production of such a vaccine would take place, he added.

Swine flu was blamed for dozens of deaths in Mexico during April and on Sunday the United States declared a health emergency amid signs the disease was spreading.

WHO officials warned Sunday that the new strain, apparently created when human and avian flu viruses infected pigs and became mixed, could mutate further.

Health officials said oseltamivir, or Tamiflu, which is produced by Novartis' Swiss rival Roche, appears to be effective in treating patients.

AFP / Expatica

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