HHS recommends larger stockpiles of flu vaccines

6/5/2008

NEW YORK The Department of Health and Human Services Wednesday issued new guidelines for protecting people from avian flu in the event of such a pandemic as the one in 1918.

The department recommends stockpiling Tamiflu and Relenza. It also recommended that households store as many as 100 face masks.

There is concern worldwide about the H5N1 strain of avian flu. Though spread through contact with infected birds, it has been found in birds in Europe, Africa and Asia and infected 383 people since 2003, with a fatality rate of 63 percent.

Tamiflu, manufactured by Roche and Gilead Sciences, had sales of $2.01 billion in 2007, according to Roche’s annual report. Relenza, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and Biota, had sales of $513 million, according to GlaxoSmithKline’s annual report.

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