Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has agreed with four European governments to produce nearly 130 million doses of a new "candidate" vaccine for swine flu it plans to develop, it said on Friday.
The Department of Health in London, meanwhile, said it had also reached agreement with drugs manufacturer Baxter to produce a vaccine before any pandemic begins.
Advertisement"GSK has received interest from several governments aiming to stockpile the new candidate adjuvanted vaccine," said a statement by GSK.
It said that Britain wanted 60 million doses of the candidate flu vaccine for the A (H1N1) virus, which will be manufactured once the virus seed is made available by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The company added that France intended to purchase 50 million doses, while Belgium wants 12.6 million doses, and Finland intends to buy 5.3 million doses.
It said that it would continue to produce its seasonal flu vaccine, with production expected to be completed by the end of July.
Britain said in a separate statement that it had reached agreement with GSK and Baxter to purchase 90 million doses of pre-pandemic swine flu vaccines.
It said the deals would ensure that enough vaccines would be secured for the most vulnerable to infection in Britain, while not affecting the country's stockpiles of seasonal flu vaccines, with production set to begin as soon as possible.
"Scientists tell us that as yet we don't know enough about this novel strain, or whether it's likely to mutate, but that this virus has the potential to become a pandemic and we can't predict how serious that would be," Health Secretary Alan Johnson said.
"We have an opportunity to secure vaccine in advance of a pandemic wave."
The World Health Organisation said earlier on Friday that more than 1,000 new cases of the A(H1N1) virus had been confirmed across the globe in 24 hours, taking the international total to 7,520 confirmed cases.
So far, 78 people have been confirmed as having swine flu in Britain.
Sixty five people have died from swine flu, mainly in Mexico, but with three in the United States.
You May Also Like