Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has signed a further nine government contracts for its swine flu vaccine, taking the total doses ordered to 291 million.
The pharmaceutical giant said it is making “rapid progress” in producing a vaccine for the H1N1 virus and hopes to make the drugs available to governments from September, with shipping expected in the second half of 2009 and early 2010.
Although Glaxo has said it is confident in being able to produce the vaccine by next month, it is unsure when it will be able to fulfil all of its orders.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commissioned the drug maker among others to produce a vaccine for the pandemic virus, but Glaxo alone has agreed contracts with 25 countries worldwide, including the UK.
The UK has so far ordered 132 million doses of the vaccine from Glaxo and another producer Baxter, enough to treat 66 million people.
The vaccine update comes after the WHO said it believes over 700 people have died from H1N1 worldwide, with more than 30 of these in the UK.
Copyright Press Association 2009