"ROME (Reuters) - Drug companies may not be able to produce enough bird flu vaccine in time to combat a human pandemic, a top United Nations official said on Tuesday as governments scrambled to contain the deadly virus.
It could take six months to manufacture adequate vaccine stocks, and current stockpiles may be useless because the flu virus has mutated, said David Nabarro, U.N. coordinator for global readiness against an outbreak.
He said 'very high priority' efforts were under way to raise manufacturing capacity so that a vaccine could be produced more quickly once a virus emerged that could cause a pandemic.
Experts say the virus is mutating steadily and there are fears that if it takes a form which spreads quickly among humans it could kill millions.
'We do not know what the genetic makeup of the eventual mutant virus will be, therefore we cannot be sure that existing vaccines that have been stored up will be effective,' Nabarro said."
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
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