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Swine Flu Vaccine Production Hits a


Snag, "WHO" Decides to "Tweak" it.



To make vaccine against a flu virus, the virus is cultivated, inactivated and blended into antigen, the main ingredient used in the shots. But the H1N1 virus being used for swine-flu vaccine is so far yielding a “low” level of antigen, Swiss drug maker Novartis AG said Thursday. It said the yield so far is about 30% to 50% of what the company normally gets for seasonal flu vaccines.

Robert Parkinson, chief executive of Baxter International Inc. , also described “yield optimization” as a challenge.

The WHO said Monday it is attempting to tweak the H1N1 virus and send manufacturers a new copy that might yield more vaccine. In the meantime, Novartis said it is attempting to adjust its production process to improve the yield.

Experts aren’t yet sure how much antigen will be needed per shot; human studies to be carried out later this summer will make that clear. The less antigen necessary, the more shots can be produced. Booster ingredients called adjuvants may also be used to increase the effectiveness of the antigen.

Oh, I do not see any problems coming from this, do you?


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