Baxter International Wants to Make Swine Flu Vaccine

April 27th, 2009

Most people have already forgotten about this, or never knew about it in the first place: Baxter International “Unintentionally” Sent Flu Samples to Companies that Contained H5N1 Avian Flu.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Via: Chicago Sun Times:

Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. has requested a sample of the swine flu virus so it can try to develop a vaccine.

Baxter spokesman Christopher Bona said the company has expertise in pandemic planning, research and development and manufacturing to rapidly develop potential flu vaccines.

“So when Baxter learned about the swine flu outbreak, the company requested a virus sample from the World Health Organization,” he said.

Baxter isn’t the only vaccine maker taking initial steps toward making shots against swine flu. GlaxoSmithKline Plc, based in London, has had conversations with WHO as well.

Bona said it’s premature to give any kind of time frame on how long it might take Baxter to develop a potential swine flu vaccine. But the company’s cell-based vaccine technology enables it to produce or manufacture vaccines in about half the time as conventional methods that use eggs. That effectively cuts production time to roughly 13 weeks from 26 weeks, once a vaccine is developed, he said.

Baxter has been developing a vaccine to protect against a potential bird flu pandemic. The vaccine, called Celvapan has received approval in Europe and is in clinical trials in the United States. Governments around the world have pandemic planning programs with Baxter. Some have stockpiled Celvapan or contracted to receive the vaccine if a bird flu pandemic breaks out.

Other companies that make flu vaccines include Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland, and Sanofi-Aventis SA, of Paris.

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