International drug makers are expected to produce three billion doses of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine, “enough for just under half the world’s population,” a WHO official said Thursday, Canwest News Service/Ottawa Citizen reports. “The agency was hoping pharmaceutical companies would be able to make about five billion doses a year, but data collected over the summer led to the revised estimate,” the news service writes.
For the first time, scientists say an investigational vaccine has modest potential for protecting people against HIV infection, the Associated Press reports. “The vaccine â€” a combination of two previously unsuccessful vaccines â€” cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by … 31 percent in the world’s largest [HIV] vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok,” the news service writes (Marchione/Casey, 9/24).
During the WHO Asia-Pacific regional meeting Monday, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan discussed the organization’s efforts to ensure that poor nations have access to H1N1 vaccines, VOA News reports (Bayron, 9/21). ABC Radio Australia reports Chan is seeking “three billion doses of swine flu vaccine to be made available worldwide, especially in developing countries where it still poses a serious risk” (9/22).
The U.N. this week will request that wealthy nations and development banks donate $1.48 billion to the help developing countries fight H1N1 (swine flu), Bloomberg reports.
The Kenya Ministry of Public Health on Saturday will launch a $1.8 million measles vaccination campaign targeting “1.3 million children who have not been vaccinated against the disease since July 2006,” Business Daily Africa reports. “Measles has become a major public concern in the country and in northern Kenya refugee camps in particular,” as the government has found itself “unable to screen refugees flooding into the country through Kenyaâ€™s porous northern border,” the newspaper writes.
A group of nine countries on Thursday announced they would share H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine supplies with developing nations to protect the world’s poorest from the H1N1 virus, Reuters reports. The U.S. joined Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Britain in the pledge, according to the news service. The new donations add to the 120 million vaccine doses pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur pledged to WHO.
Merck, Wellcome Trust To Launch Vaccine Center In India To Produce Vaccines For Developing Countries
The pharmaceutical company Merck and the Wellcome Trust have joined together to create a non-profit, Â£90-million (about $150 million) research center in India to facilitate the development of new vaccines, “including [those for] neglected diseases for which inadequate or no vaccines exist,” Nature News reports.
The recent news that a single dose of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine can protect adults against the virus has sparked conversations between the WHO and developed countries about sharing their vaccine stockpiles with developing countries, Bloomberg reports.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines produced by four manufacturers — CSL Ltd., Novartis, Sanofi-Pasteur and Medimmune — had won FDA approval, paving the way for a U.S. large-scale vaccination campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports. The application for GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s vaccine is still being considered.
Recent findings that a single dose of an H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine offers protection against the virus and anticipation of vaccination programs starting earlier than predicted will increase the number of people worldwide with access to the vaccine and the likelihood health officials may be able to control the spread of the virus, Bloomberg reports.