HHS Awards Contract to Sanofi Pasteur To Purchase Flu Vaccine Production Technology
HHS officials have awarded a $97 million contract to Sanofi Pasteur for Sanofi Aventis' vaccine unit to purchase technology that could reduce by half the amount of time needed to manufacture influenza vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 2004 flu vaccine shortage was compounded by outmoded technology that uses certain eggs to grow the vaccine, HHS officials have said.
With the new technology, Sanofi Aventis will implement a cell-based vaccine production system. Under the terms of the contract, Sanofi Aventis will build a manufacturing plant in the United States capable of producing at least 300 million doses of flu vaccine using the new method (Wall Street Journal, 4/4).
President Bush on Friday ordered authorities to quarantine individuals suspected of having influenza "that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic," CQ HealthBeat reports. The order was issued as an amendment to a 2003 executive order which revised a list of communicable diseases that warranted quarantine.
Under Bush's newest directive, public health officials have the power to detain or quarantine individuals who show signs of avian flu or other strains that could become a threat to public health. CDC Director Julie Gerberding in February said avian flu was "a worrisome situation," but she added that the world was "not immediately on the brink" of an epidemic. Gerberding said CDC was taking "many steps" to prepare for avian flu (CQ HealthBeat, 4/1).