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BIO Visitors Bring Viral Preparedness to Atlanta
Date:5/20/2009

North Carolina giveaways show state's growing germ-fighting focus

ATLANTA, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Representatives of the North Carolina contingent to this week's Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in Atlanta are pressing a point as they press the flesh with thousands of conference participants and residents.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center is distributing hundreds of containers of hand sanitizers -- two brands, both from North Carolina-based companies. One, Purell, is alcohol-based. The other, Remi-D, is a new FDA-approved product that kills germs without alcohol.

The idea is to help visitors to the conference feel more relaxed about shaking hands while shaking the bushes for business connections on the crowded trade-show floor during this belated flu season. The giveaway, which includes some informal distribution to pedestrians in downtown Atlanta during the week, also high-fives North Carolina's growing reputation as the epicenter of infectious-disease weaponry.

For example, the Old North State is home not only to the companies that make Purell and Remi-D, but also to the North American headquarters of global pharmaceutical titan GlaxoSmithKline.

GSK is one of only two manufacturers in the world that make antiviral flu treatments. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other health groups note that GSK's Relenza is effective against the 2009 strain of A (H1N1) flu virus, often called swine flu.

Relenza is made at the company's plant in Zebulon, about 25 miles east of its RTP headquarters.

Meanwhile, a history-making, 430,000-square-foot flu-vaccine plant is being built by Swiss drug maker Novartis AG in Holly Springs, about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh.

It's the largest biomanufacturing project under construction in the Un
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SOURCE North Carolina Biotechnology Center
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