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Russia to produce 40 million doses of A/H1N1 flu vaccine
Russia will produce 40 million doses of A/H1N1 flu vaccine by the end of this year, Chief Public Health Official Gennady Onishchenko said.
In his words, Russian pharmaceutical plants are producing 27 million doses of regular flu vaccine at present. The new vaccine will be manufactured in Ufa, Irkutsk and St. Petersburg.
Another 22 million doses of the new vaccine will be produced next year, Onishchenko said. “It is important for us to know how the antidote will behave: whether one inoculation will be sufficient or an additional inoculation may be necessary. We will also thoroughly study the toxicity of the antidote and the response of the human immune system,” he said.
The Flu Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences started testing an A/H1N1 flu vaccine on volunteers on August 20, the institute’s senior researcher Igor Nikanorov told Itar-Tass.
“The tests will comply with the universal algorithm,” he said. “As a rule, it takes a month to test a vaccine or a pharmaceutical preparation.”
At first, the volunteers will undergo a thorough medical examination, and doctors will register their biochemical parameters. A week after the inoculation with the new vaccine, the volunteers will be examined again in order to see the individual reaction to the injected antidote, Nikanorov said.
After that the volunteers will have three weeks of independent monitoring of possible side effects of the inoculation. Then the medical team will sum up results of the clinical tests and make a report to the Federal Consumer Rights and Human Well Being Service.
The work on the A/H1N1 flu vaccine has entered into a final stage, the institute announced. “The same as we have planned, clinical tests of the new vaccine will start in the end of August,” head of the National Flu Center of the World Health Organization (WHO) Academician Oleg Kiselyov said. “The massive production of the vaccine will start in November, before the seasonal increase of the regular cold and flu rate in the country. The first Russians will be inoculated against the new flu on October 1.”
The Federal Consumer Rights and Human Well Being Service has officially permitted the Flu Research Institute to use in the innovative Russian flu preparations, Ingaron and Alfaron, in the treatment of flu, including ‘bird’ influenza (H5N1) and A/H1N1, Kiselyov said.
“The preparations are particularly efficient in the therapy of various clinical forms of flu, and in case of preventive treatment in the period of the seasonal increase of the cold and flu rate,” he said.
“The Russian designers of the A/H1N1 flu vaccine, Ingaron and Alfaron will present their products at the WHO forum in Geneva in November 2009. The Flu Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences based in St. Petersburg owns the technology, and the Farmalon pharmaceutical plant based in the Moscow region is the producer,” Kiselyov said.
The first batch of the A/H1N1 flu vaccine Russia is developing will be sent to the Far Eastern Federal District, Onishchenko said.
He said it was planned to deliver 1.1 million doses of adult vaccine and 400,000 doses of vaccine for children.
The Far East and other Russian regions have drafted flu action plans. The plans are most detailed in the Primorye and Khabarovsk territories and the Amur region. Plans of Yakutia and the Chukotka autonomous district contain serious shortcomings, the officer said.
Onishchenko said that the ‘bird’ flu hazard was also serious. China registered 38 ‘bird’ flu cases this year, and 25 of them were lethal. The situation will be most dangerous if the ‘bird’ and ‘swine’ flu viruses combine. That may happen in Southeast Asia. The Far East is an area visited by migrant birds, which enhances the contamination risk, he said.
In the opinion of Onishchenko, the seasonal cold and flu epidemic in Russia may start by the end of this year if the A/H1N1 situation does not twist the general course of events.
Industrial production of an A/H1N1 flu vaccine in Russia may start this September, he said earlier.
“The vaccine is being developed. There are no problems,” he said. “I think industrial production will begin in September.”
“The domestic pharmaceutical industry may produce about 40 million doses of the vaccine. First of all, we will inoculate primary school children, pensioners, medical personnel and teachers,” he said.
The officer said that Russia was ready to donate the new vaccine to CIS member countries.
“The Russian delegation asked CIS colleagues at the conference of CIS chief public health officials this July to present updated reports on the national vaccination programs,” he said. “We promised assistance. This could be a gratis act.”
In that case, the Russian budget will fund the production of the requested amount of the vaccine, Onishchenko said. “Our colleagues from CIS epidemiological services will receive the vaccine in the period optimal for the prevention of a possible epidemics. For instance, one million doses of vaccine will be more than enough for Kyrgyzstan. Naturally, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine need more, but we are capable of producing that amount and the production will further increase,” he said.
Onishchenko called on Russian citizens to spend their vacation in the home country and to avoid visits to states, which had reported large numbers of A/H1N1 flu cases.
“Despite the heat, flu is spreading in Europe and in this country. This is a rather alarming symptom, as summer is not a regular flu season,” he said.
“The virus has been reported from 139 states, and its intensify differs,” he said, recommending Russians to choose the Moscow region, the Baikal area and Sochi for vacations.
In the opinion of Onishchenko, Russians spend their vacations abroad in a totally irresponsible way. “They arrive without precautions, put swimming trunks on their untrained bodies and drink a lot of alcohol,” he said.
If Russians still choose a foreign trip and contract the virus, they should immediately see the doctor, Onishchenko said.