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Viable Swine Flu Shot Closer to Reality
Date:5/25/2009

Meanwhile, woman's death in New York City raises national toll to 11

MONDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Progress has been made towards developing a viable H1N1 swine flu vaccine, with experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying this week that they have two promising candidate viruses for use in such a shot.

Meanwhile, a 50-year-old woman died of swine flu in New York City over the weekend, becoming the second swine flu fatality in that city and the 11th in the United States, according to the Associated Press.

As with most of the other reported swine flu deaths, the woman had other health conditions, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti said. No other information on her case was disclosed Sunday.

But good news came Friday from CDC officials, who reported that they are closer to a viable vaccine for this new strain of flu.

"Today CDC received, from one institution, a candidate vaccine virus," Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's interim deputy director for science and public health program, said during a news conference on Friday.

The strain was created by "combining the genes of the novel H1N1 virus with other parts from other viruses," Schuchat explained. This type of hybrid virus will grow more easily in eggs -- an essential part of the vaccine production process.

The CDC, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has also created a second candidate virus using reverse genetics, Schuchat added.

The CDC is testing both viruses to make sure they can stimulate an optimal immune response, Schuchat said. "After that work is done, suitable viruses will be sent out to manufacturers. We expect by the end of May that will happen," she added.

Also Friday, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government was allocating $1 billion to the search for a s
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