Bird flu vaccine stockpile 'feasible'1st May 2007
Governments and manufacturers say it should be 'feasible' to create a global stockpile of vaccine against the avian influenza virus.
In a meeting hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, they also set out steps towards developing a mechanism to ensure that poorer countries have broader access to pandemic influenza vaccines.
Called in the wake of negotiations with Indonesia, which stopped sending crucial samples of H5N1 virus found in its human and poultry populations, the April 25 meeting brought together countries that have experienced human H5N1 infections, donor countries, and vaccine manufacturers from industrialised and developing countries.
Participants heard that recent scientific studies on H5 vaccines had shown them to be safe and immunogenic, and that it was realistic to expect that vaccines offering cross protection (against immunologically related but different viruses not contained in the vaccine) could be developed.
They agreed to make further efforts to examine whether and how to establish a stockpile of H5N1 vaccine and a mechanism for broader access to pandemic vaccine when the next influenza pandemic occurs.
Representatives of vaccine manufacturers in developed and developing countries told the meeting that they were willing to work with WHO to pursue the possibility of an H5N1 vaccine stockpile and a mechanism for broader access to pandemic vaccine, WHO said in a statement on its website.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the industry organization that represents research-based pharmaceutical companies, said that it forecast increased manufacturing capacity for seasonal influenza vaccines in the next three to five years, to meet potential growing demand.
WHO said it would now set up expert groups to focus on the details of how to create, maintain, fund and use an H5N1 vaccine stockpile. It said it would continue to work for broader access to pandemic vaccine.
Participants agreed that the work on virus sharing, H5N1 vaccine stockpiles, access to pandemic vaccines and other means of strengthening pandemic preparedness must all be based on the International Health Regulations (2005), the regulatory framework aimed at protecting global health security.
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Title: Bird flu vaccine stockpile 'feasible'
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 2717
Date Added: 1st May 2007