Pharma giant Novartis working on H7N9 vaccine

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis is researching a vaccine for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, its chief executive said Thursday, amid fears that the disease could mutate into a form that spreads among people.

In an interview with the Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger, Joe Jimenez said that Novartis had already analysed the virus' genetic codes, which have been published by .

Jimenez said that Novartis "would today be in a position to develop a vaccine for initial clinical trials within six to eight weeks".

"The need is theoretical for now," he added.

Since the discovery of the first cases several weeks ago in China, a total of 108 people have been confirmed as being infected with the H7N9 virus, of whom 22 have died, marking the first time the strain has claimed human lives.

Officials from the have underlined that the strain is therefore one of the deadliest of the many forms of flu carried by birds and posing various degrees of risk to humans.

On Wednesday, Taiwan recorded the first case outside China, in a man who had recently returned from working there.

There have been no recorded cases to human-to-human transmission, but the spectre of a form of the virus being able to jump between people has placed global health officials on alert.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

H7N9 bird flu cases set to climb, but no pandemic: WHO

Apr 03, 2013

The number of cases of H7N9 bird flu in China looks set to climb as experts identify previously unexplained infections, but a lack of human-to-human transmission means a pandemic is not on the cards, the World Health Organisation ...

Two in China first known deaths from H7N9 bird flu

Mar 31, 2013

Two Shanghai men have died from a lesser-known type of bird flu in the first known human deaths from the strain, and Chinese authorities said Sunday that it wasn't clear how they were infected, but that there was no evidence ...

Recommended for you

New US restrictions on painkiller to take effect

5 hours ago

The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.

Boxed warnings are common in novel therapeutics

Aug 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Boxed warnings are common on recent drug approvals, and many occur years after approval, according to a research letter published online Aug. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

User comments