Saturday, December 5, 2009

Novartis opens new flu vaccine plant in U.S

HOLLY SPRINGS, North Carolina-The bioreactors are empty and running just for show for now, but Novartis opened its first U.S. flu vaccine plant on Tuesday, the first in the country to make flu vaccines out of cells instead of eggs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius toured the plant, whose cell-based technology is designed to be cleaner, quicker and more predictable than the current way most influenza vaccines are made using eggs and will help alleviate the U.S. dependence on imported vaccines.
The bioreactors used to incubate the cells with the virus should also be able to scale up more quickly to make larger quantities of vaccine when needed -- such as during pandemics.
It will be years before the facility makes any real vaccine, so it is of no use during the current pandemic of H1N1 swine flu, in which the government is struggling to vaccinate Americans in the face of slow-arriving supplies...

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