13 July 2006

Avian Flu: The Risk of Pharma Divergence...

This McKinsey article on Avian Flu has some valid points:

• To counter the threat of a global flu pandemic, policy makers, health care organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry must collaborate to develop a market-based approach to expand vaccine production capacity.

• The most effective way of doing so would be to stimulate demand for the annual winter flu vaccine, finance research into the development of pandemic vaccines, and reach an agreement on the amount of additional capacity required around the world.

• Simultaneously, pharmaceutical companies must develop a fourth strain, targeting H5N1 and other avian-influenza strains, and seek regulatory approval to add it to the existing annual winter flu shot.

• Although these shots would not include the eventual pandemic strain—which cannot be known until it appears—people immunized with them would develop antibodies against a potentially deadly virus.

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