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Thursday, 27 July 2006 10:22
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Bird flu vaccine is success
GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled a H5N1 bird flu vaccine that it believes will give it a significant edge over competing treatments.

The UK pharmaceuticals group's vaccine has been produced using lower levels of antigen, the active ingredient in vaccines that causes the body to produce an immune response.

The company said the vaccine provoked a strong response in more than 80 per cent of the people tested, with a higher efficacy than any other H5N1 vaccine in development. By the end of the year the company will know if it will be possible to mass-produce the vaccine, estimating that the cost per dose could be £4. "These results are highly significant and mark real progress," said J P Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline's chief executive officer, although he added: "There is still a lot more work to be done”.

Dr David Nabarro, of the United Nations, said: "It is a good and exciting piece of science." But Prof Peter Dunnill, the chairman of University College London, said: "It would still only allow coverage of five per cent of the global population if the entire world's viral influenza vaccine capacity was used”.

Dr Paul Digard, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, said the two key problems that companies faced were producing enough vaccine in time to tackle an outbreak and not knowing the exact strain of a pandemic strain before it evolved.
   


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