News 338 views update:Apr 19, 2007

Bird flu vaccine approved as interim measure

The US government has approved the first vaccine against avian flu, which could be used for 6.5 million people.

The approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) means that the vaccine, made by Sanofi Pasteur, a division of French company Sanofi-Aventis, is no longer considered experimental and could be dispensed during a pandemic without recipient's filling in a consent form.

The vaccine, approved for adults from the age of 18 - 64, will not be available for sale to the general public, but will only be dispensed by the government in the event of a pandemic under specific rules.

The vaccine, however, is expected to protect only about 45% of people who receive it. Also, two injections are required 28 days apart, which could slow the response during a fast-moving flu outbreak. Moreover, it also requires high doses, which limits the number of injections that could be produced in a short time.

Norman Baylor, head of the vaccine office at the Food and Drug Administration, conceded the new vaccine was an “interim measure” until better products could be developed.


Related links:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Sanofi Pasteur



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