Officials with the world's leading vaccine suppliers will meet with regulators and scientists at the World Health Organization today to consider whether to launch a massive three to six-month effort to begin manufacturing a global stockpile of swine flu vaccine.
A number of top vaccine experts say that it appears absolutely essential to start designing and making a new vaccine. The Mexican strain of the virus appears to require the hospitalization of 9-10 percent of the people who get it. And four out of every 1,000 people who are infected are killed by the virus.
"It's almost a no-brainer," Robert Webster, a flu expert at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, tells Bloomberg. "It makes sense for vaccine companies to get all their ducks lined up, as it were, to make a vaccine for this new strain."
"If you don't make the vaccine and the virus comes back, even in a moderate form, we will not have prepared at all," said Vanderbilt University's William Schaffner. "If it comes back in a more virulent form, we in public health would have egg on our face. Making the vaccine has almost no downside, except for the expenditure of money."
- read the report from Bloomberg