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China's Sinovac to offer cheaper swine flu shot: report

Swine flu to cost Spanish firms one billion euros: study
The swine flu outbreak will cost Spanish firms around one billion euros due to worker absenteeism, according to a study released Monday by Adecco, the world's biggest temporary staffing company. "Taking into account the cost of work during the absence of an employee and the probable length of time of the absence, the approximate cost for companies will be around one billion euros," the study by the Swiss firm said. The company based its findings on an estimate that around 12 percent of all Spanish workers would contract the A(H1N1) virus, with the average length of time off work through illness set at seven days. There were nevertheless "numerous unknown quantities that still must be revealed to calculate" the total impact on companies of the disease, said the company. Nearly 2,200 people around the world have died from the virus since it emerged in April in Mexico, according to the latest World Health Organization figures. Spain was the first European country to confirm a case of the virus and with 21 deaths from the disease so far it is the second-most affected country in the continent after Britain. The country plans to vaccinate up to 40 percent of Spain's population of around 46 million people against swine flu.
by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) Aug 31, 2009
Chinese drugmaker Sinovac will sell its swine flu vaccine, which works after just one dose, for 30 percent less than those developed by Western firm, its chief said in an interview published Monday.

"Our vaccine will be less expensive than those made by Western multinationals. Their price will be around 30 dollars and we can sell ours for 30 percent less," Sinovac chief Weidong Yin told business daily elEconomista.

Earlier this month Sinovac said clinical trials had shown that a single dose of its vaccine is effective and sufficient against the A(H1N1) virus.

Western firms like US pharmaceuticals group Baxter, France's Sanofi-Pasteur, Switzerland's Novartis and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline are developing a vaccine against the disease which is expected to require two doses to be effective.

Sinovac is one of four companies that has been selected to supply seasonal-influenza vaccines to the Beijing Public Health Bureau but it has not yet won the right to commercialise it.

"We hope to win approval from the Chinese regulator during the first two weeks of September" to start distributing part of the five million doses that have been ordered by the Chinese government, Yin said.

More than 2,180 people around the world have died from the virus since it emerged in April, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures.

In Europe, Britain and France have received their first batches of swine flu vaccine but the licencing approval for their distribution should only be available in October.

The Sinovac chief said his company had the capacity to produce two million doses of the vaccine per month, far less than major multinationals. Novartis for example can produce 150 million doses per year.

Sinovac is in talks with the Greek government to provide it with vaccines against swine flu and its carrying out clinical trials in the Ukraine, he said.

earlier related report
Colombian president recovering well from swine flu: officials
President Alvaro Uribe is expected to fully recover from swine flu by midweek his office said Monday, a day after announcing that the Colombian had become the second Latin leader to fall ill from the virus.

Uribe's office announced Sunday that the Colombian leader appears to have fallen ill with the H1N1 virus after attending a regional summit last week in Argentina, and other governments had been notified .

Uribe's personal physician Gustavo Aristizabal told local radio that the Colombian leader would require two additional days of treatment, "but by Wednesday afternoon, he should be able to resume normal activity."

Aristizabal said Uribe first began to feel ill at around midday on Friday. But his symptoms, including persistent cough and fever, already appeared to be subsiding, the physician said.

"Since Saturday, the president has ceased to have fever. He shows general signs of illness -- a sore throat, a little achiness in the chest -- but now he is on the road toward full recovery," Aristizabal said.

The country's health minister Diego Palacio told reporters that he spoke with Uribe late Sunday and was monitoring how the illness progressed.

"It's going quite well," said Palacio, who is also a medical doctor, adding that he did not fear any major health consequences from Uribe's brush with the dreaded virus.

"The president seemed very animated and well on the road to recovery," Palacio said.

Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and mediator of the Honduran political crisis, also had a bout of swine flu earlier this month.

Meanwhile, another top Colombian official, Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, who is on official business in China, has also been tested to determine whether he has contracted the virus, officials said.

Colombia's ambassador to Beijing said Chinese authorities, out of an abundance of caution, had asked Bermudez to undergo a health screening to ensure that he was not infected with swine flu, after news of Uribe's illness emerged.

"Out of diplomatic prudence, meetings that he had planned today (Monday) have been canceled until we get the test results," Ambassador Guillermo Ricardo Velez told RCN radio.

Velez added however that Bermudez is "in perfect health" and shows "no symptoms" of the virus.

A spokesman in Bogota said Uribe's office also informed other governments who attended the summit in Bariloche, Argentina about his illness.

"All the people and government leaders who have had close contact with the president are being informed," said spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velasquez.

Velasquez added that while in isolation, Uribe was continuing to carry out some his official duties by telephone and Internet.

Deaths from swine flu in Latin America -- the worst-hit region in the world -- rose to over 1,300 this month.

To date, 34 people have died of the flu in Colombia, official data show. A total of 621 infections have been confirmed.

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Recession, swine flu cloud US back-to-school
Washington (AFP) Aug 30, 2009
Children head back to school in the United States in the coming days facing concerns over the threat of swine flu and as tough economic times force teachers and families to count their pennies. "There is no question that the recession has hit states budgets very hard and local budgets," making tough decisions on where to cut spending are necessary, said Russ Whitehurst, a Brookings Institute ... read more

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