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Medicine News

Swine Flu Vaccine In Production 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the europe-wants-to-hog-it-all dept.
ravjen writes with news that "Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said they have successfully produced a swine flu vaccine weeks ahead of their expectations. The vaccine was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines." This announcement came just a day after the World Health Organization declared H1N1's spread to be a pandemic. The vaccine has not been tested in humans yet, so the first batch is set to be used in clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. If all goes well, the new production method would allow Novartis to get the drug to market in large quantities by this fall. Other drug companies, such as Baxter International, have confirmed that they're in "full-scale production" of H1N1 vaccines as well.
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Swine Flu Vaccine In Production

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  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:30AM (#28326131)

    Can anyone explain why this virus is so different from all the others floating around? Why the panic?

    The case fatality rate (CFR) of the pandemic strain is estimated at 0.4% (range 0.3%-1.5%)

    We've all had worse diseases than this.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:30AM (#28326133) Journal

    As far as I know, vaccines are made in chicken eggs, and takes some time to produce

    I know most people here do not bother to read articles before commenting, but you could at least have bothered to read the ./ summary...

  • Quite frankly (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anynomous Coward (841063) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:48AM (#28326215)
    with all the hype surrounding this, one might be tempted to start considering the possibility that some big pharma in search of the next blockbuster could have designed the virus, the vaccine, the initial test release in a remote village and subsequent dispersal in airports, and the fud campaign together.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @08:57AM (#28326269)

    The last time there was a swine flu panic, 1 person in the US died of the flu, 25 died of the vaccine that was rushed out and more than 500 were paralyzed by it. What are the odds it's going to happen again? No thanks, I'll sit this round out.

  • Re:Why Why Why?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by that IT girl (864406) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @09:13AM (#28326367) Journal
    Because the pharmaceutical industry can scare everybody into paying them billions of dollars. Yes, billions.
    God, it's so nice to find someone else who doesn't buy into the bullshit.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @09:55AM (#28326553) Homepage

    In general I agree with your sentiment that there's been a lot of over-reaction to this whole thing. A few weeks after the thing first blew up in the news we got more information that this is really "no big deal", but yet there's still remnants in the world of the panic machine going forward. The following, however I don't agree with:


    - look at all the fear mongering over bird flu and apocalyptic scenarios they told us to expect then, how a bird flu pandemic was inevitable etc. within just a few months at the time, remind me, how did that turn out again?

    What I recall is the idiotic media outlets spreading a lot of fear about bird flu. I recall scientific sources talking about this as a long term problem we need to watch and learn more about because it COULD (but we don't know when, maybe decades) eventually mutate into something that spreads from human to human.

    If you want a real apocalyptic scenario then there's the idea that Swine flu both mutates to become worse and is vastly more contagious but personally, I'll file that alongside worrying about global nuclear war and alien invasion.

    Why is it people have to turn to some other equally idiotic extreme? Global nuclear was and "alien invasion" have never happened except in movies. Global disease outbreaks including flu that killed millions of people have happened with some regularity for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In all likelihood this whole thing will turn out to be nothing as H1N1 is unlikely to mutate into something more deadly. Putting it in the same category as "alien invasion" is just as stupid as all the fear mongering the media outlets love to do.

    When there's any evidence to suggest we're closer to any of these I'll start worrying or even caring a bit more.

    If we're close to a deadly flu outbreak, it's really already too late. We need to start developing techniques to get faster vaccines now, not just before it happens. If this HAD been the real-deal, a several month delay to make the vaccine is just too long. You don't need to sit around and cower in fear or start wearing face masks that likely do nothing. You do need to start thinking about how we should be better prepared.

  • by True Grit (739797) * <edwcogburnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 14, 2009 @11:20AM (#28327039)

    look at all the fear mongering over bird flu and apocalyptic scenarios they told us to expect then

    Strange, I don't have those same memories. H5N1 is very deadly, but can't transmit human-to-human, and the people I heard talk of it said only if it learns to move directly between humans do we need to get scared. It was the *media* that ended up hyping things, not the WHO.

    If you want a real apocalyptic scenario then there's the idea that Swine flu both mutates to become worse

    Actually, what the WHO is worried about is the H1N1 strain linking up the existing H5N1 strains in Southeast Asia, combining the H1N1's ease of human transmission, with the H5N1's deadliness. H1N1 is part avian after all, it has a history of mutating and combining with other strains. Is it *likely*? No one really knows.

    I'll start worrying or even caring a bit more.

    The WHO's doing that for you, so you don't have to. Don't blame them for doing their jobs, blame the media for always hyping everything beyond its actual importance/relevance.

  • Re:Swiss... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Sunday June 14, 2009 @02:05PM (#28328157) Journal

    Twitter was insane when H1N1 first broke. Now it's pandemic... Crickets.

    Just wait a couple of months and the scaremongering bandwagon will set off again. Just in time for the companies to sell millions of vaccines for a flu that, thus far, has presented with symptoms equal to or lesser than the regular flu we see every year.

    252 cases where I am. 2 required hospitalization. No deaths.

    And WOW! The companies have a whole lot of time to test the safety and efficacy of these vaccines don't they! If this were, say, a heart drug or whatever being rushed to market (and heart disease still kills more people every year than flu ever will*) they would never be allowed to rush it to market this quickly and would need to spend at least six more months faking the tests, I mean doing the tests.

    Yet most will happily line up and be beta testers for this vaccine.

    The best thing we can do to prevent the flu is COUGH AND SNEEZE INTO OUR ARMS! Seriously, do not cover your mouth with your hands. You cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. You don't touch anyone with that, and it contains the germs.

    (* - Do not come back with the Spanish Flu pandemic. Medical science, hygiene etc... have ALL comes on in leaps and bounds since then.)

    Whatever. Glad to see someone has used the "money" tag on this story. The shareholders of the companies working on the vaccine must be damn near pissing themselves with excitement at the dividend they're going to receive.

  • SARS == ATRAC (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 14, 2009 @03:06PM (#28328689)

    Yep, what with all those tens of thousands infected worldwide, and almost no casualties that can't be attributed to other factors (air pollution in Mexico City, eg) it's turning out to be a real fake^W pandemic. Better get those Novartis stocks pumped up^U life-saving vaccines out to needy souls. Never mind that the flu vaccine doesn't work, and this one probably isn't any better...
    Seriously this decade's "pandemic" list is looking like Sony's list of proprietary format failures. There's a new one every year.

  • by IorDMUX (870522) <mark.zimmerman3NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:17PM (#28338049) Homepage

    Pandemics are indiscriminate and take down rich, poor, black, brown, yellow, red, white, gay, straight, Jew, Gentile, Atheist, young and old.

    I invite you to study the sad statistics of one of our current pandemics, AIDS, especially as it affects Africa.

    Claiming that a pandemic will equally cull the ranks of rich and poor alike shows a very limited understanding of modern health care issues.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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