April 29, 2009

Sanofi stands ready for vaccine orders

Health authorities have not yet pinpointed the type of vaccine they want produced to combat the swine flu, the head of a major vaccine producer said.

Chief Executive Officer Christopher Viehbacher at Sanofi-Aventis SA said a targeted vaccine could be available about 15 weeks after the World Health Organization issues instructions for a disease-specific vaccine, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Sanofi manufacturing facilities in the United States and France are already working full time to produce vaccines for a typical flu season -- a production run that totals 180 million doses a year. However, if someone asked us to change our production "¦ all our teams are on full alert and working to do that, Viehbacher said.

But at the moment we're continuing our normal seasonal flu campaign.

Viehbacher was not sure how much vaccine Sanofi would produce, as it depends on whether WHO requires a pure swine flu vaccine or one combined with the standard flu vaccine, the newspaper said.