Published Online: Thursday, February 1, 2007

The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $132.5 million to 3 pharmaceutical companies for the advanced development of H5N1 influenza vaccines using an adjuvant—an immune system booster. The government has given the companies the task of developing bird-flu vaccines using adjuvants, which increase the body's immune response. Less of this type of vaccine should be required for protection.

The agency awarded $54.8 million to Novartis, $63.3 million to GlaxoSmith- Kline, and $14.4 million to Iomai of Maryland. Under the contracts, each company will increase its capacity to produce—within 6 months after the start of an influenza pandemic—either 150 million doses of an adjuvant-based pandemic influenza vaccine or sufficient adjuvant for 150 million doses of a pandemic influenza vaccine.

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