Novartis readies key adjuvant for swine flu use

Novartis will use data on a new vaccine adjuvant as it moves to design a new jab specifically for swine flu.

The pharma giant, a major vaccine manufacturer which received the genetic code of the new virus earlier this week, said that adding the adjuvant MF59 to the pre-pandemic H5N1 vaccine Aflunov demonstrated a broad immune response across all antigenic strains of bird flu.  

"These data reinforce the potentially broad applicability of the MF59 adjuvant and the role it can play in pandemic preparedness efforts around the world," said Andrin Oswald, chief executive of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. "We will use these new insights, as well as our strong leadership position in cell based flu manufacturing, as part of our efforts to develop a vaccine against the current swine flu outbreak."

Novartis also announced this morning that Aflunov triggered an immune response in infants and children up to the age of 17 in a Phase II trial. It is the only pre-pandemic vaccine thus far to demonstrate an immune response in infants as young as 6 months old.

- read the report from Reuters

PLUS: The CEO of Protein Sciences, now waiting for an approval of its first seasonal flu jab, says that it could be ready to make a swine flu vaccine in six weeks. Report

ALSO: Mexico is partially shutting down the country's economy, telling people who work in non-essential businesses and government offices to stay home for five days as the country tries to blunt the spread of the virus. Story

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