U.S. awards bird flu vaccine contracts


global vaccinationWASHINGTON - The government awarded contracts Wednesday to three drug makers tasked with developing a vaccine for bird flu using technology that will help stretch the supply of the medicine.

The contracts, valued at $132.5 million, may provide a way for more Americans to have access to a vaccine in the event of a pandemic, said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

The vaccines would use an immune booster called an adjuvant, which reduces the amount of active ingredient per dose that's necessary to achieve protection from the virus.

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded five-year contracts to GlaxoSmithKline PLC for $63.3 million and to Novartis AG for $54.8 million.

The department also will pay Iomai Corp. $14.4 million to complete preliminary trials of its candidate vaccine. Iomai may receive an additional $114 million upon successful completion of those trials.


Department of Health and Human Services:


source - AP