Wednesday, April 29, 2009

like you'd take it anyway....,

NYTimes | Federal officials said it would take until January, or late November at the earliest, to make enough vaccine to protect all Americans from a possible epidemic of swine flu.

And beyond the United States and a few other countries that also make vaccines, some experts said it could take years to produce enough swine flu vaccine to satisfy global demand.

Although production is much faster than would have been possible even a few years ago, it still may not be in time to avert death and illness if the virus starts spreading widely and becomes more virulent, some experts said.

In this country, the biggest problem is that despite years of effort, the country is still relying on half-century-old technology to make the flu vaccines.

Federal authorities have spent years and more than a billion dollars trying to shift vaccine production to a faster, more reliable method — one that involves growing the vaccine viruses in vats of cells rather than in hen’s eggs, the old technology. And there are numerous small companies developing totally new approaches that might allow for the production of huge volumes of vaccines in a matter of weeks.

But the cell-based production is not quite ready, and some of the newer techniques are not proven enough to satisfy many experts.

“Those are all great technologies, but it isn’t going to happen in time,” said Dr. Greg Poland, head of the vaccine research program at the Mayo Clinic.