Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine

The National Institutes of Health has announced that they hope to have a swine flu vaccine developed and available by mid to late fall. This means that the swine flu vaccine will not be available in September when students in the United States first return to school. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced that potentially 3 billion people worldwide could come down with the swine flu. In contrast, phamaceutical companies are estimated to only be able to make 400 million swine flu vaccinations over the next six months. This is because of the limited capacity of the pharmaceutical companies and the labor intensive nature of making each individual dose of the vaccine. Each dose has to be incubated on a live chicken egg, and is not as simple as producing some large quantity of some chemical formulation.