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WHO expert meeting makes no decision on A/H1N1 flu vaccine production
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08:30, May 15, 2009

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An expert meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday made no decision on whether manufacturers should start large-scale production of vaccines against the A/H1N1 flu virus.

"No big decisions, no pronouncements," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's top influenza official, said of the virtual meeting, which was meant to provide recommendations to WHO Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan on vaccine issues.

"I think it's not possible to say that there will be a decision made by this date," Fukuda told a news briefing, adding that more meetings are needed as this is "a painstaking and difficult process."

According to the official, the technical process for making a vaccine has already started, but it would last several weeks. And experts need more information about the severity and impact of the A/H1N1 virus.

Besides, manufacturers may need to continue their production for seasonal vaccines, as seasonal influenza still kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.

"We have to weigh the relative benefits of making one vaccine, or the other, or both vaccines," Fukuda said.

According to latest figures from the WHO, the A/H1N1 flu virus has so far infected 6,497 people in 33 countries and regions.


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