US government orders more than 56 million swine flu vaccines

The US government has placed new orders for more than 56 million swine flu vaccines with Sanofi Pasteur and Medimmune.

The US government has placed new orders for more than 56 million swine flu vaccines with Sanofi Pasteur and Medimmune.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group, will provide 27.3 million doses of its monovalent A(H1N1) vaccine, based on 15mcg of antigen per dose. This takes the total placed with the company to 75.3 million doses.

"As the only company manufacturing inactivated influenza vaccine in the US, we recognise the important role Sanofi Pasteur serves in the country's pandemic response plan and we have committed our resources to responding to our public health needs," said Wayne Pisano, ceo of Sanofi Pasteur.

Medimmune will supply 29 million doses of its live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). LAIV is different from the injectable influenza vaccine in that it contains live vaccine virus strains that are weakened so as not to cause the flu. It is delivered into the nose, where the influenza virus usually enters the body, rather than by injection.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has now placed orders with Medimmune of more than 40 million vaccines, with a total value of approximately US$453m.

MedImmune's development of LAIV for this strain of H1N1 began at the end of April, when the company received the novel virus from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Enough bulk vaccine to fill all orders placed by HHS has already been manufactured and the FDA has released about 3.4 million doses.

Sanofi Pasteur began commercial production at its facility at Swiftwater, PA in the US of its A(H1N1) vaccine in June.

The US Food and Drug Administration licensed both Sanofi Pasteur's and Medimmune's vaccines on 15 September following clinical trials in the US.

Sanofi Pasteur's US licensed vaccine is indicated for persons six months of age and older, while Medimmune's LAIV is for individuals from 2-49 years.

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