Solvay Pharmaceuticals will supply Norway with special vaccines in the event of an influenza pandemic
SOLVAY PHARMACEUTICALS today announce that it has signed an agreement with the Norwegian authorities whereby Solvay Pharmaceuticals will supply influenza vaccines to Norway in the case of a pandemic. Thanks to the development of a new technology involving cell culture, Solvay Pharmaceuticals expects to have much greater flexibility for delivering special influenza vaccines in the event of a pandemic.
The agreement with Norway is the first agreement of its kind for Solvay Pharmaceuticals; more are expected to follow. The agreement represents a type of insurance for which a yearly premium is paid. Should the World Health Association determine that a pandemic is occurring, they will supply the seed virus and we will make a special influenza vaccine against that particular viral strain. The agreement with Norway is for 4 million doses of this special vaccine.
An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with large numbers of infected people and deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and influenza experts worldwide are concerned that the appearance and widespread distribution of an avian influenza virus, Influenza A/H5N1, has the potential to ignite a pandemic. Given this current threat, the WHO has urged all countries to develop or update their influenza pandemic preparedness plans for responding to the widespread socioeconomic disruptions that would result.
Solvay Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading producers of influenza vaccines in Europe, is engaged in negotiations with other European authorities about the supply of vaccines in the case of a pandemic. The company has developed an innovative method to produce vaccines and has obtained marketing approval from the Dutch regulatory authorities for this cell culture technology. At its site in Weesp, The Netherlands, Solvay Pharmaceuticals has built a new manufacturing plant.
Sjirk Kok, Manager of the Business Group Influenza at Solvay Pharmaceuticals, said: “We are very pleased with the agreement between Solvay and Norway. At the moment this new cell culture technology offers the only realistic opportunity to face both influenza epidemics and pandemic situations”.
SOLVAY PHARMACEUTICALS is the pharmaceuticals entity in SOLVAY. It is a research driven pharmaceutical company that seeks to fulfill carefully selected, unmet medical needs in the therapeutic areas of cardiology, gastroenterology, mental health and gynecology/andrology. SOLVAY PHARMACEUTICALS employs more than 7500 people worldwide.
SOLVAY is an international chemicals and pharmaceuticals group with headquarters in Brussels. It employs more than 30000 people in 50 countries. In 2003 consolidated sales amounted to EUR 7.6 billion generated by its three activity sectors: Chemicals, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. SOLVAY is listed on the Euronext 100 index of top European companies. Details are available at www.solvay.com.