Swiss drug-maker Novartis said Wednesday that it had begun shipping seasonal flu vaccine to the United States weeks ahead of schedule, in order to address increased demand amid the swine flu pandemic.
"Novartis Vaccines committed early on that we would not let production of a pandemic vaccine get in the way of our ongoing commitment to provide seasonal influenza vaccine for the US market," Andrin Oswald, who heads Novartis' Vaccines and Diagnostics division, said in a statement.
Advertisement"We have been able to meet that promise with the early delivery of Fluvirin to the US. Our next goal will be to bring an A(H1N1) influenza vaccine for public health use as soon as possible."
The seasonal flu vaccine would not provide immunisation against the new swine flu, but drug-makers are working on developing a separate vaccine to counter the A(H1N1) virus.
Novartis counts among laboratories charged with developing this new vaccine. It has said it hopes to make the vaccine available to the public in the northern hemisphere's autumn.