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FDA Licenses First US Vaccine Against Avian Flu

Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group has received the license from the US FDA for its H5N1 vaccine, the first avian influenza vaccine for humans in// the US. Sanofi pasteur, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, submitted a biologics license application to the FDA for this H5N1 vaccine. The licensure serves as a first key step in achieving the government's goal of stockpiling vaccine intended to protect those who are at increased risk of exposure to the H5N1 influenza virus contained in the vaccine during the early stages of a pandemic.

"The licensure of the nation's first vaccine is a significant milestone in pandemic preparedness," said David Williams, President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of sanofi pasteur. "As the leading manufacturer of influenza vaccine in the world and a longstanding, responsible member of the immunization community, we will play a key role in helping safeguard human health if an influenza pandemic strikes. We look forward to continuing to work with the US government and others, to prepare for this crisis."

The licensure of this vaccine was based on a clinical trial conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This trial evaluated the safety and ability to generate an immune response of this vaccine when administered in two 90-ug/ml doses in healthy adults 18 through 64 years. The study, which was completed in 2005, showed that the vaccine elicited an immune response against the H5N1 virus and was associated with mild side effects.

As the world leader in research, development and manufacturing of influenza vaccines, sanofi pasteur is actively involved in pandemic preparedness. Sanofi pasteur is committed to continuing its robust research and development program by exploring strategies for protecting more people, including the evaluation of new adjuvants; the use of cell culture production processes; and assessing the ability of vaccine formulations to generate immune responses against other strains of the H5N1 virus. Additionally, sanofi pasteur has invested in a major expansion of its influenza vaccine production capacity in both the US and France.


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