Swiss drug maker Roche said on Tuesday that it was donating 5.65 million treatment courses of its anti-viral drug Tamiflu to the World Health Organization (WHO) to help fight the A/H1N1 flu outbreak.
Most of the new donation will be used to replenish stockpiles of the UN agency, which has been dispatching the anti-viral drug to more than 70 developing countries to help them deal with the threat of the new flu virus, the Basel-based company said in a statement.
"The recent outbreak of influenza A/H1N1 shows that such a virus can be totally unexpected and spread rapidly around the globe," said William Burns, head of Roche's pharmaceuticals division.
It's urgent to restore Tamiflu stockpiles "to prepare for subsequent waves with this virus or for addressing newly emerging influenza strains," he added.
In addition, Roche announced that its production of Tamiflu can be up to 110 million courses of treatment over the next five months.
And it can increase its production capacity to 36 million treatment courses per month by year end if required.
According to latest figures provided by the WHO, altogether 30 countries have officially reported 5,251 lab confirmed cases of A/H1N1 infection, including 61 deaths.
The disease continues to spread, but there is still no strong evidence showing sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus has occurred in regions outside of North America.