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.

Related Stories

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

date 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

date 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

Rising antibiotic shortages raise concerns about patient care

date Apr 23, 2015

Shortages of key antibiotics, including gold-standard therapies and drugs used to treat highly resistant infections, are on the rise, according to a new study of shortages from 2001 to 2013 published in Clinical Infectious Di ...

Study supports HPV vaccination guidelines

date Apr 21, 2015

(HealthDay)—New research finds that young women who get the HPV vaccine gain significant protection against infection in three parts of the body if they haven't already been exposed to the human papillomavirus.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.