Drug firm to ship swine flu vaccine by September

GLAXOSMITHKLINE should begin shipping a swine flu vaccine by September as it revealed today it was in discussions with more than 50 countries about its treatments.

GLAXOSMITHKLINE should begin shipping a swine flu vaccine by September as it revealed today it was in discussions with more than 50 countries about its treatments.

The drug maker, which is one of several firms commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to produce a vaccine for the pandemic virus, said it had already agreed contracts for 195 million doses with 16 countries worldwide.

The drug firm said it expected further "significant orders" of the H1N1 vaccine and announced plans to triple the availability of its swine flu treatment Relenza to 190 million doses per year by the end of 2009.

In addition Glaxo also has agreements worth £152.3m with the US Government to supply the ingredients for the vaccine and Relenza.

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

Having previously said the UK’s order of the vaccine was for 60 million doses, chief executive Andrew Witty gave no update on the order today.

The UK Government has ordered a total of 132 million doses - two per person - from both Glaxo and another producer Baxter.

Mr Witty said the speed that the vaccine could be produced would depend on the development process - a detail that the firm will discover in the next few weeks.

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