News: News Archives
Vaccine for the Next Influenza Pandemic
For the first time in history, the virus subtype of a potential pandemic is known H5N1 and a vaccine against it could be stored for immediate use if needed, writes Klaus Stöhr in a "Policy Forum" in the 24 December 2004 issue of the journal Science.
The formulation of an efficient H5N1 pandemic vaccine, however, has not been established by clinical trials. Only 3 of the 10 companies that hold around 90 percent of the global vaccine production capacity are preparing small batches of an H5N1 pandemic vaccine for clinical trials.
The World Health Organization recommends creation of national and international stockpiles of H5N1 pandemic vaccine, according to Stöhr, who writes that political and economic hurdles, not insurmountable technical issues, have slowed progress of influenza pandemic vaccine development. Nonetheless, governments are attempting to stimulate the private sector's interest in pandemic vaccine development.
Stöhr outlines some of these actions and suggests next steps for both governments and influenza vaccine manufacturers.
Daniel B. Kane
23 December 2004