Flu Cases Jump in JapanGlaxoSmithKline to Develop H1N1 Influenza Vaccine The sixth person to die of the H1N1 influenza virus in the US happened on Sunday, and World Health Organization (WHO) officials are keeping close watch on the number of flu cases in Japan, as numbers jumped over the weekend. This raises the chances that WHO will have to raise its pandemic alert level to 6, the highest level.
In related news, GlaxoSmithKline on Friday announced it received orders from several governments aiming to stockpile a new candidate A (H1N1) influenza vaccine as a precautionary measure.
The company says it will manufacture the new vaccine once virus seed is made available by WHO. GlaxoSmithKline says it plans to continue seasonal influenza vaccine production. H1N1 flu virus is also called "swine flu" and has already topped more than 7,500 cases worldwide in 34 countries. The sixth person to die in the US was an assistant principal of a school in Queens, NY. Ten schools in the New York metropolitan area were closed last week and over the weekend because of the flu illness.
The company will have a vaccine ready anywhere from 4 to 6 months after it gets the virus seed from WHO. Several governments have already expressed interest in the vaccine, with objective to stockpile the new vaccine as a precautionary measure.
The company says it will supply the UK government with 60 million doses of the new vaccine, and the French government has said it intends to buy 50 million doses. The government of Belgium will also purchase 12.6 million doses. Finland says it will have an agreement to buy 5.3 million, and it is expected to be used in conjunction with the government's existing stockpile of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) vaccine.
GSK states it will convert its intended donation to the WHO of 50 million doses of H5N1 pre-pandemic vaccine to the new candidate A (H1N1) adjuvanted influenza vaccine once production begins. As capacity increases, GSK will also supply the vaccine to developing countries under a tiered-pricing policy based on World Bank classifications and GAVI eligibility.