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Local firm set to make flu vaccine

SHANGHAI-MADE swine flu vaccines are expected to be available in a few months as domestic pharmaceutical companies begin to ramp up production of the medicine.

The Shanghai Institute of Biological Products, the city's only licensed flu vaccine developer and producer, said yesterday it will obtain the needed strain of H1N1 virus this week.

The institute, one of 11 companies in China licensed to develop and manufacture swine flu vaccine, has already started work based on information about the virus from the World Health Organization.

The institute will also continue production of other seasonal flu vaccines.

Several Chinese companies have already obtained virus strains, Yan Jiangying, spokeswoman for the State Food and Drug Administration, said on Monday.

The rest of the 11 licensed companies will get the strains in a matter of days. A vaccine could be produced as early as the end of next month by the first companies to receive the strains. Clinical trials are also necessary.

The Shanghai institute said it is fully prepared to handle development of a swine flu vaccine and has sufficient equipment, staff and technical capabilities.

The Shanghai institute said the vaccines will be held as strategic reserves. The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will set the price of the vaccines, and medical authorities will decide who should be vaccinated, according to Yan.

China's mainland reported 12 new cases of swine flu yesterday, bring the total to 101.


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