H1N1 drug a slower process

Los Angeles Times / October 28, 2009

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LOS ANGELES - Only 8 million doses of vaccine against the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus have become available since Oct. 21, calling into question whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be able to meet even its downsized goal of having 28 million to 30 million doses on hand by the end of this week.

As of yesterday, 22.4 million doses of swine flu vaccine were available, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, at a news conference. The agency had hoped to be getting 20 million doses per week by now and expected a minimum of at least 50 million doses to be on hand by the end of the month.

The virus for the vaccine is being grown in chicken eggs, and the H1N1 virus selected is not growing as rapidly as those used in the seasonal flu vaccine. Manufacturers have had to balance production of swine flu vaccine and seasonal vaccine.

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