PARIS, Sept. 15(Xinhuanet)-- The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur announced Thursday that it had signed a 100 million-dollar contract with the US Health Department to supply a bird fluvaccine to the United States.
As a subsidiary of French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis, Sanofi Pasteur said that the prototype vaccine was for humans to combat H5N1, the virus strain widely thought to be the cause of bird flu.
The contract stipulates the"production by Sanofi-Pasteur of the vaccine under a concentrated form in bulk, between the beginning of September and the end of October" 2005, according to a statement released by the company. Production of the vaccine would take place at its US headquarters in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania.
H5N1 virus is an influenza A virus subtype that occurs mainly in birds. It was first isolated from birds(terns) in South Africain 1961. Like all bird flu viruses, H5N1 virus circulates among birds worldwide, is very contagious among birds, and can be deadly.
Outbreaks of influenza H5N1 occurred among poultry in eight countries in Asia(Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam) during late 2003 and early 2004.
According to Sanofi, 68 cases of human bird flu contamination had been reported to the World Health Organization between Dec. 16,2005 and Aug. 5. Enditem