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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Novartis : Experimental Swine Flu Vaccine Produced

The vaccine hasn't yet been tested and cannot be used in humans yet. It was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines, the company said.

But because vaccines grown in cells account for less than 5 percent of the world's flu vaccine capacity, Novartis' announcement is unlikely to provide a major boost to the world's pandemic vaccine supply.

The announcement comes a day after WHO declared swine flu, also known as A(H1N1), a pandemic. The move indicates that a global outbreak is under way. WHO says drugmakers will likely have vaccines approved and ready for sale after September.

Novartis said it would use the first batch of vaccine for laboratory testing. It may also be tested in humans, the company said.

The vaccine was produced at a Novartis plant in Marburg, Germany. Novartis said the facility could potentially produce millions of doses of vaccine a week.

A second plant is being built in Holly Springs, North Carolina, the company said.

Novartis said more than 30 governments have requested vaccine supplies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, which placed a $289 million order in May.

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