Influenza :: Novartis commitment to pandemic preparedness

Novartis is working closely with government and regulatory officials worldwide to support pandemic preparedness efforts. Novartis has engaged in discussions with several governments concerning pandemic influenza vaccine supply and has received contracts to provide H5N1 vaccines for stockpiling.

Novartis is committed to supporting leadership initiatives by the WHO to ensure public safety in case of a pandemic, including the development of a global pandemic vaccine stockpile for developing countries.

Novartis is also supportive of the WHO’s leadership role in global pandemic planning. The WHO is a key global hub for pandemic preparedness, ensuring cohesion and coordination amongst all players involved, including the industry, governments of both developed or developing countries and their populations.

In January 2007, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded Novartis a USD 55 million contract to further develop the MF59 adjuvant technology for use in potentially extending vaccine supplies in case of a pandemic outbreak. An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to enhance the body’s immune response to the vaccine’s active constituent, called the antigen.

Novartis has also developed a new influenza vaccine manufacturing process that utilizes a proprietary cell line, rather than chicken eggs, for antigen production. The Novartis proprietary cell culture technology may reduce production time to meet demands of influenza outbreaks and may also help to develop antigens for a wider range of viral strains that are difficult to grow in eggs. These are two important production advantages in the event of an influenza pandemic.

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