Apr 4, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Sanofi Pasteur has won a $97 million federal contract to develop cell-culture technology for making influenza vaccines and to design a facility to use this technology to make a pandemic flu vaccine, federal officials have announced.Flu vaccines are currently grown in chicken eggs, a process that takes at least 6 months. Several companies have been experimenting with ways to grow vaccines in mammalian or other cells, in the hope of speeding up the process. The chance that H5N1 avian flu could lead to a human flu pandemic has stimulated these efforts.In the Apr 1 contract announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said, “This action begins the process of speeding up influenza vaccine production, improving surge capacity and scaling up U.S. manufacturing capability.”Under the 5-year contract, Sanofi Pasteur (formerly Aventis Pasteur) will develop inactivated flu vaccines using human cells and manufacture enough doses for clinical trials, the HHS statement said. Sanofi was the main supplier of inactivated flu vaccine for the US market in the 2004-05 flu season.”In addition, Sanofi Pasteur will develop plans for a U.S. manufacturing facility capable of producing at least 300 million doses of a pandemic influenza vaccine using this technology,” HHS said.The statement said it takes nearly 9 months to make currently licensed flu vaccines. After health agencies select the three viral strains they think will be most common in the coming flu season, the strains must be adapted to grow in eggs. The adapted virus strains are injected separately into millions of fertilized eggs, which are then incubated. Finally the viruses are harvested from the eggs, killed, and blended into a vaccine that includes all three strains.HHS cited several advantages of using cell-culture technology to make flu vaccines. Viruses don’t need to be adapted to grow in eggs, and manufacturers can freeze cells in advance and then thaw and grow them in large volumes in the event of a shortage or pandemic. Also, the method is safe from certain risks associated with egg-based production, such as the chance of eggs being contaminated by various poultry diseases. Finally, cell-based vaccines could be used by people who can’t receive the currently licensed vaccines because they are allergic to eggs.The HHS announcement didn’t suggest how fast it would be possible to produce vaccines with cell-culture technology or how soon Sanofi might have a vaccine ready for clinical trials. HHS officials could not be reached in time to provide more information for this report.According to a Washington Post report published last November, officials at several companies that are developing cell-based flu vaccine technology said the production process would take about 5 months, shortening the conventional process by about a month.In November 2004 HHS awarded a contract to Sanofi Pasteur to ensure a year-round supply of eggs for flu vaccine production. The government also has awarded contracts in the past year to develop and test a human flu vaccine based on the H5N1 avian flu virus.See also:Apr 1 HHS announcementhttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2005pres/20050401.htmlNov 9, 2004, HHS announcement of contract to provide egg supplies for flu vaccine productionhttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20041109a.html
Topics : The British Open has been cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus.The 149th Open was scheduled to take place at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent in July.But with the pandemic ripping the 2020 sporting schedule to shreds, the event has became the first of the sport’s four majors to be cancelled this year. ‘Bigger than golf’ The British Open is the latest high-profile tournament to be axed because of the virus.Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II last week, while Euro 2020 and the Olympics have been pushed back a year until 2021. Ireland’s Shane Lowry won last year’s British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.”Obviously I’m disappointed that I won’t get to defend the Open Championship this year but I feel the R&A have made the right decisions based on people’s health and safety. See you all in Royal St George’s in 2021,” Lowry tweeted.Royal St George’s has hosted the British Open 14 times, most recently in 2011, when Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won the event.The Open, which started in 1860, was also previously not held from 1915 to 1919 because of World War I.England’s Danny Willett, who won the 2016 Masters, told the BBC: “Postponement or cancellations is something that we have become accustomed to until everyone is safe and safe to do our sport. “It is a shame but there are things bigger than golf at the moment.”Both this year’s Masters and the PGA Championship were postponed in March because of the health crisis and were rescheduled after the British Open postponement.The PGA Championship, which was initially due to be held in May, is now set to be staged from August 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco.The US Open has been moved from June to September 17-20, the week before the Ryder Cup clash between Europe and the United States.The Masters, which usually takes place in April, is now slated to go ahead from November 12-15 at Augusta National. “We have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible. “We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organizations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.”We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.” Golf’s oldest major will now be hosted at the same Sandwich venue in July 2021.”The Open was due to be played in Kent from 12-19 July but it has been necessary to cancel the championship based on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and the R&A’s advisers,” organizers R&A said in a statement on Monday.St Andrews will still host the 150th British Open, but a year later than scheduled in 2022.”Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open. We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said.