Connecticut company Protein Sciences has begun manufacturing what it hopes will be the first available swine flu vaccine. The Meriden bioscience firm says it already has tentative orders for half a million doses.
Protein Sciences uses a newer and faster technology to manufacture vaccines than the traditional method of growing vaccines in chicken eggs. The company had already done preliminary work on a swine flu vaccine and now says it will go ahead with manufacturing 100 thousand doses a week in its pilot plant in Meriden. CEO Dan Adams says the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization was one of the deciding factors.
"We looked around and we saw that nobody else was going to have a vaccine available for months, and looking at the spread of swine flu, and the decision by WHO to go to level six, we felt we just had to go ahead and make it and take the risk."
The vaccine should be ready by mid-July, and Protein Sciences is in negotiations with the National Institutes of Health to begin human clinical trials in the US. The WHO has called on companies to make vaccine available to developing nations, and Protein Sciences says it will honor that commitment by transferring its technology to other parts of the world where manufacturing can be set up locally.