Because of the recent Swine Flu virus that has swept the globe, many drug manufacturers are doing whatever they can to produce ample amounts of the vaccine for this upcoming flu season, but they are having more problems than anticipated. Many pharmaceutical companies are having trouble growing enough of the swine flu virus to produce adequate amounts of the vaccine. Many drug companies are falling behind of this race to produce enough vaccines for this upcoming pandemic season, and it could hurt the drug companies in the long run. Many drug companies are already going outside of the box hiring outside life sciences consulting firms to help maximize their production levels to be able to fill this massive demand for swine flu vaccines.
The FDA is currently reporting that the major drug companies are only getting to about 30% of the production rate needed to supply all the demand for this upcoming flu season. Because of this problem reproducing the virus effectively, many countries around the world are concerned they won’t have enough stock piled vaccines in preparation for a worse case scenario. But not all drug manufacturers are falling behind schedule. Companies like MedImmune are actually developing excess amounts due to its innovative vaccine design process.
MedImmune is able to make so many vaccines because they are making their product from a weakened flu virus rather than a neutralized live virus. Live viruses produce a stronger immune response then weakened viruses, but MedImmune claims it will be just as effective. MedImmune even claims it will be more effective due to its delivery mechanism, coming in the form of a flu spray, with only one dose being adequate, rather than two doses from a more conventional vaccine dosage.
But not everyone is convinced that it will be as effective as MedImmune claims. Some critics are claiming it will not be as effective as the standard swine flu vaccine due to its manufacturing process. Others are claiming that they are just trying to take short cuts to fill demand to get more government contracts. However, this technology that MedImmune is using does have its drawbacks. Because of the spray delivery mechanism, many spray suppliers are not able to keep up with the demand for the vaccine and are only able to produce, at the most, 40 million doses. This is well short of the needed amount, as the U.S. alone has ordered 195 million doses of vaccines from five major drug developers. Only time will tell if the rest of the drug companies will be able to catch up to MedImmune, and if we will have the shortage of vaccines that is being predicted, but as of right now, MedImmune is the only drug manufacturer who is currently not behind schedule.
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