Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chinese experts clear Sinovac swine flu vax

The Chinese company Sinovac says that a large group of experts has signed off on its new swine flu vaccine, clearing the way for a production license that could come in a matter of days. The group of 43 experts voted unanimously to back the use of the vaccine in a single shot for anyone aged three to 60. Sinovac now plans to ask China's State Food and Drug Administration for a production license, with a final decision expected in three days.

The Chinese vaccine, though, won't be available for purchase. The H1N1 vaccine will be solely controlled by the central government, which will decide who gets it and when. "The government will decide whether and how to distribute the vaccine, based on the flu's development," said Zhao Kai, who headed up the expert panel.

Sinovac appears to be a leader in the race to gain an approval for a new vaccine to guard against the pandemic. A host of the world's biggest drug companies have been working 24/7 on a new vaccine, and many are already preparing shipments ahead of a regulatory review.

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