Vax makers in global race to create swine flu jab

With new cases of swine flu springing up daily, Australia has ordered 10 million doses of a new vaccine being developed by CSL, which is engaged in a worldwide race to develop a jab as governments around the globe start lining up to buy.

"We are working very hard to contain this," said Australian Health Minister Nicola Roxon, confirming that cases of swine flu almost doubled from Wednesday to Thursday. Three of those cases are on a cruise ship which has been anchored off a remote island as officials scramble to rein in the virus.

Australia's CSL is one of a number of vaccine makers working feverishly to test and market a new A/H1N1 vaccine. The U.S. government recently proffered a billion dollars to help major manufacturers like Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline ready production. And smaller companies like Vaxart and Vical have been pursuing tests of their own in anticipation of a burst of demand for vaccine.  

CSL, the only vaccine maker in the Southern Hemisphere, has outlined plans to start producing a new vaccine next week that can be used for human testing. A vaccine based on the California strain of the virus is being tested in ferrets.

- read the report from Reuters
- read the story from Bloomberg

ALSO: China says that it will have samples of swine flu on hand by June and plans to start manufacturing a new A/H1N1 vaccine in July. Report

PLUS: The new chiefs at the FDA say that the agency is beavering away at helping vaccine manufacturers developer a new swine flu vaccine. "The agency's success will be determined by the nation's access to a safe and effective vaccine," wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and her deputy, Joshua Sharfstein. Story

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