July 31, 2009

Nasal vaccine developed for swine flu

Maryland-based Medimmune pharmaceuticals expects to produce nearly five times the amount of H1N1 vaccine originally anticipated, its executives said.

Medimmune, a subsidiary of AstraZeneca, expects to make 200 million doses by March, so many doses it will run out of nasal spray devices and may have to use nose droppers, Bernardus N.M. Machielse, Medimmune's executive vice president for operations told The New York Times.

Medimmune is of the five companies under contract to the U.S. government to produce H1N1 flu vaccine. Medimmune also makes the nasal spray vaccine FluMist for seasonal flu viruses.

An H1N1 nasal spray vaccine could be a strong weapon against swine flu because makers of conventional flu shots have reported problems producing their vaccines, the Times reported.

So far, the U.S. government has ordered 12.8 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from Medimmune for $151 million and could order millions more doses, federal officials told the Times.