Aventis Pasteur, the human vaccines business of Aventis, part of the Sanofi-Aventis Group, has agreed to produce two million doses of bulk vaccine containing the potential pandemic virus strain. Production and storage will take place at the company's facility in
"As the world's largest supplier of influenza vaccine, Aventis Pasteur is committed to partnering with the government to develop a safe and effective vaccine in preparation for a possible influenza pandemic," said David J. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Aventis Pasteur. "This new contract with HHS will further increase our experience in pandemic vaccine production. In addition, we continue to pursue additional opportunities for working with governments around the world on related initiatives."
The H5N1 vaccine will be manufactured from a seed virus provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The seed virus is a weakened version of the wild type virus and was extensively tested prior to delivery to Aventis Pasteur.
Earlier this year, Aventis Pasteur entered into an agreement with NIAID to produce 8,000 doses of the H5N1 influenza virus strain for use in clinical trials.
Influenza epidemics occur every year and result in an annual average of 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations in the