Five Chinese drug firms have so far received seed viruses of A/H1N1 influenza from the World Health Organization. These companies are striving to have the first batch of the vaccine ready to go by August.
Researchers at this biotechnology company in Beijing are busy duplicating the seed viruses of the A/H1N1 flu.
It’s a critical step before the vaccine can go into production.
Zou Yong, manager of Quality Supervision Department of Sinovac Bitotec, said, “In order to meet the demand of large-scale vaccine production, we need to duplicate the seed one thousand times. The production period is expected to last 40 to 50 days. So we estimate the first batch of vaccines will be produced as early as the end of July.”
According to the State Food and Drug Administration, or SFDA, there are a total of 11 flu vaccine manufacturers in China.
Between them, they can produce 360 million doses a year. And of those 11, five have already received seed viruses from the WHO. The rest are scheduled to receive them by Saturday.
Meanwhile, China is waiting for the WHO to decide on whether the A/H1N1 flu should be categorized as seasonal or pandemic.
The SFDA says the scale and pace of the production will be decided by the spread and development of the virus.