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SCIENCE

Swiss drugs giant Roche donates anti-viral treatments

Latest update : 2009-05-12

Swiss drugs manufacturer Roche said it is donating 5.65 million treatment courses of its anti-viral drug Tamiflu to help fight the worldwide outbreak of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

AFP - Swiss drugs giant Roche said Tuesday it was donating 5.65 million treatment courses of its anti-viral drug Tamiflu to help the World Health Organisation fight the swine flu outbreak.
  
It added in a statement that it would also boost its production capacity for anti-virals, producing another 110 million treatment courses over the next five months.
  
Following that, it would further ramp up capacity to a maximum output of 36 million treatments per month by year-end if required.
  
"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, CEO of Roche's pharmaceuticals division.
  
The outbreak "emphasises the urgency" of replenishing the stockpiles to prepare for subsequent waves of the virus, he added.
  
Roche said its latest donation would help replenish stockpiles of the UN health agency which have been deployed to deal with the current outbreak.
  
Two million courses of the drug will be held by the WHO, while three million courses will be held by Roche on behalf of the organisation.
  
The remaining 650,000 treatment courses of smaller Tamiflu capsules will form a new pediatric stockpile, said the group.
  
"In view of the uncertain impact of the influenza A(H1N1) virus on the current Southern Hemisphere influenza season, and the subsequent Northern Hemisphere winter season, it will be important for all stakeholders to closely monitor events and continue pandemic preparedness," added Roche.
  
Thirty countries have reported 4,694 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1), including 53 deaths, to the WHO.

Date created : 2009-05-12

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