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WHO Says 3B People Worldwide Could Receive H1N1 Vaccine

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. “Manufacturing improvements and a single-dose vaccine may allow drugmakers to make enough vaccine to inoculate 3 billion people, said Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the World Health Organization’s Initiative for Vaccine Research, in an e-mail,” the news service writes.

“The really good news is that for everybody in the world, we will have more people protected earlier in both developing and developed countries,” Nancy Cox, director for the CDC’s flu division, said during a conference in San Francisco. The article includes information on the recent spike in H1N1 cases in the U.S. over the past few weeks “to rates greater than last winter’s peak” and the plans of the pharmaceutical company, CSL, to donate “as many as 100,000 doses” of its H1N1 vaccine to “developing nations in Asia and the South Pacific” (Randall/Gale, 9/15).

In related news, the British Medical Journal examines the spread of the H1N1 virus “inland and into rural areas” in China as the country begins its H1N1 vaccination campaign (Parry, 9/14).

GlaxoSmithKline Reports Its Single-Dose H1N1 Vaccine Offers Protection Against H1N1

GlaxoSmithKline on Monday became the latest pharmaceutical company to announce one dose of its H1N1 vaccine offered people protection from the H1N1 virus, Reuters reports. “Results from the first clinical trial with its candidate vaccine showed nearly 100 percent protection three weeks after vaccination,” the news service writes (Hirschler, 9/14).

U.S. Releases Small Businesses H1N1 Preparation Guidebook

U.S. officials on Monday released a guidebook advising small businesses on ways to best prepare for work with fewer employees as the H1N1 virus spreads throughout the country this fall, the Associated Press reports (Perrone, 9/14). CQ HealthBeat outlines the advice contained in the guidebook, including “[r]evising leave and absentee policies” and “[p]reparing business continuity plans” (Margetta, 9/14).

The Washington Post adds: “The government is urging small businesses to prepare for a worst-case scenario, with high numbers of workers suffering from severe bouts of the virus. Officials said workers may be out three to five days and that businesses should think about how they would handle duties of key people who were out sick” (Haynes, 9/15).

Several Studies Show H1N1 Contagious Longer Than Seasonal Flu

The AP/Washington Post examines evidence presented Monday at an American Society for Microbiology conference that suggests patients infected with the H1N1 virus are contagious longer than those infected with the seasonal flu. However, “[i]t is unclear whether the new research will lead the CDC to rethink its advice on how long people with swine flu should hole up,” the article notes (Marchione, 9/14).