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Published July 15, 2008 09:02 AM

It's a long road to a H5N1 vaccine stockpile

Several measures must be put in place to ensure an adequate vaccine stockpile in the event of a H5N1 avian influenza pandemic, write Tadataka Yamada, Alice Dautry and Mark Walport in Nature.

H5N1 could kill up to 80 million people, according to recent data models — with 95 per cent of deaths in the developing world.

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There have been positive developments, such as H5N1 vaccines with adjuvants that reduce the dose of the vaccine required by four-fold. Thanks to such developments, global vaccine production capacity could rise to 5—6 billion doses over 12 months — a significant boost for the WHO's planned vaccine stockpile.

But intellectual property issues surrounding samples must be resolved, efforts to create a pre-pandemic vaccine stockpile must be coordinated, global surveillance bolstered, and a tiered pricing model established to ensure that everyone benefits, write the authors.

They urge public and private donors to "create a financing facility to help the poorest nations pay for their share of the pandemic flu vaccine".

The authors write that their organisations — the Gates Foundation, Pasteur Institute and Wellcome Trust — will, in the next 18 months, develop a central inventory of funded research activities on human influenza, which will help identify knowledge gaps.

Link to full article in Nature

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