LONDON – A fully licensed swine flu vaccine might not be available until the end of the year, a top official at the World Health Organization said Monday, in a report that could affect many countries’ vaccination plans. But countries could use emergency provisions to get the vaccines out quicker if they decide their populations need them, Marie-Paule Kieny, director of WHO’s Initiative for Vaccine Research, said during a news conference. The swine flu viruses currently being used to develop a vaccine aren’t producing enough of the ingredient needed for the vaccine, and WHO has asked its laboratory network to produce a new set of viruses as soon as possible. So far, the swine flu viruses being used are only producing about half as much “yield” to make vaccines as regular flu viruses. Last week, WHO reported nearly 95,000 cases of swine flu worldwide including 429 deaths. Most people who get the virus only experience mild symptoms and don’t need treatment to get better. In a presentation to WHO’s vaccines advisory group last week, Kieny said a lower-producing vaccine would significantly delay the timeline for vaccines. That could complicate many Western countries’ plans to roll out vaccines in the fall…. Read full this story
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