Four big vax makers charge ahead with swine flu programs

Vaccine teams for four of the world's largest vaccine manufacturers say they have the seed stock they need to develop a new swine flu vax for use this autumn. But the researchers add that they're still uncertain just how much of the growing demand for the vaccine can be met.

"It will probably take a couple of weeks to ascertain the yields before we get into large-scale manufacture," a Glaxo spokesman told Reuters. Teams for GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and Solvay all say they're at work on a new H1N1 jab, but they need to determine how well the strain they're working with will grow in a manufacturing setting before they can calculate yields.

All these vaccine manufacturers could reap windfall profits from a burst of new orders for the new flu vaccine. Developed countries have already started to ink contracts. And the manufacturers will be able to shift from seasonal flu vaccines to the H1N1 vax as they deploy a new array of resources built in recent years to improve on the world's supply of vaccines.

- read the report from Reuters