The World Health Organisation has said research into a vaccine against the H1N1 flu virus is “on track.” Dr Marie-Paule Kieny said clinical trials were underway in five countries and that the first regulatory approvals might be possible next month.
“For the clinical trials which have already started in July we should have the first results in September, the first half of September,” she said. “What will they tell us? Well, they will tell us whether people will need one dose or two.” Kieny said that if people fall do unwell after being vaccinated, they should not jump to the conclusion that the vaccine was the cause. “There is no doubt that if and when there is a very large scale vaccination campaign there will be people who have adverse events. These – the vast majority of these events – will not be associated at all with the vaccine that is given. It will be temporarily assocated – which means this is something that would have happened anyway.” Kieny said safety standards would not be compromised by the need to produce vaccines fast. The WHO forecasts the swine flu pandemic may affect as many as 2 billion people. South American nations have expressed concern that, when vaccines are authorised, rich countries might buy up all available stocks.