Drug firm ups doses of swine flu vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline said its has been in discussion with over 50 countries over its swine flu vaccine as it announced contracts for 195 million doses worldwide were in place.

The drug firm said it expected further "significant orders" of the H1N1 vaccine and said that shipments of the medicine were expected in the second half of this year and early 2010.

Glaxo said it also plans to triple the availability of its swine flu treatment Relenza to 190 million doses per year by the end of 2009.

Glaxo said it had worked closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) throughout the outbreak, starting production of the swine flu vaccine after the virus was declared a pandemic last month.

So far the WHO estimates more than 700 people have died from H1N1 worldwide and 31 deaths have now been recorded in the UK.

Chief executive Andrew Witty said: "Last month, we started production of an H1N1 adjuvanted vaccine and we are on track to meet the orders placed by many governments and the WHO for the vaccine and our novel adjuvant.

"To date we have contracts in place to supply 195 million doses of the vaccine."

He said it also had a "variety of agreements" with the US Government to supply pandemic products worth £152.3 million.

"Discussions with over 50 governments are ongoing, with many at advanced stages, and I therefore expect further significant orders", he said.

"In these last three months, governments have rapidly strengthened their pandemic stockpile and prevention strategies, and whilst we are currently seeing a heightened period of demand, it is likely that we will see a sustained level of orders for pandemic products over the next few years."

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