Novartis to offer data on pre-pandemic jabs

Novartis hasn't given up in its pursuit of profits. The Swiss company has been making an argument for use of its experimental flu vaccine ahead of any potential outbreak. Vaccines chief Jörg Reinhardt says that Novartis is preparing to publish data that demonstrates a second jab of the vaccine would offer quick and extended protection against pandemic flu strains. Reinhard argues that the first vaccine shot would offer only a few weeks protection. But a second booster shot would take effect in a matter of days and offer protection for more than seven years.

It's an important point for Novartis and several other companies that have invested heavily in pandemic flu vaccines. The developers hope to gain buyers well in advance of any possible pandemic, a task made harder as fear of a pandemic eases around the globe. But there are plenty of skeptics who say that administering this first round of protective vaccines would severely stress health systems and possibly lead to unexpected side effects. In addition, for it to be effective any future pandemic would have to be a variety of the H5N1 version now in circulation.

- read the report in the Financial Times