Projected Supply of Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Increases Sharply

November 6, 2007
BioPharm International Editors

Recent scientific advances and increased vaccine manufacturing capacity have prompted experts to increase their projections of how many pandemic influenza vaccine courses can be made available in the coming years.

Recent scientific advances and increased vaccine manufacturing capacity have prompted experts to increase their projections of how many pandemic influenza vaccine courses can be made available in the coming years.

In the spring, the World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva, Switzerland) and vaccine manufacturers said that about 100 million courses of pandemic influenza vaccine based on the H5N1 avian influenza strain could be produced immediately with standard technology. Experts now anticipate that global production capacity will rise to 4.5 billion pandemic immunization courses per year in 2010.

This year, manufacturers have been able to step up production capacity of trivalent influenza vaccines to an estimated 565 million doses, from 350 million doses produced in 2006, according to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations. According to experts in this field, the yearly production capacity for the influenza vaccine is expected to rise to 1 billion doses in 2010, if corresponding demand exists.

Manufacturers will be able to deliver around 4.5 billion pandemic influenza vaccine courses because a pandemic vaccine would need about eight times less antigen, the substance that stimulates an immune response. Vaccine production capacity is linked to the amount of antigen that has to be used to make each dose of the vaccine. Scientists have recently discovered that by using adjuvants that enhance the immune response, they can reduce the amount of antigen used to produce pandemic influenza vaccines.

WHO release