Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine Flu / Europe: Race against the clock to have vaccines before winter

European governments say that they are accelerating the process of approval of Swine Flu vaccine, what has experts somewhat worried.

The European Agency of Medicine, the principal regulatory organ in the European Union,took the fast track for the approval of the vaccine. Countries such as Great Britain, Greece, France and Sweden said that they will begin to apply it as soon as it is approved, possibly in some weeks.

In Europe, generally, vaccines are tested in hundreds of persons for weeks or months, to make sure that the immune system should generate the sufficient amount of antibodies to attack the infection.

But the determination for achieving a vaccine as soon as possible, the agency is allowing companies to jump the tests with big individuals quantities.
Doctor Keiji Fukuda, chief of the flu department of the World Health Organization, warned about potential dangers that vaccines represent when they are not tested in the laboratory, although he did not criticized the European position.

European officials do not know if the vaccine is going to have unexpected side effects until million persons have been vaccinated. Nevertheless, they think that the risk is worth while for the lives that will be saved.

The main difficulty is that, probably, without large-scale tests, will be the difficulty in getting a suitable dose, this can cause Europeans to obtain a very weak version of the vaccine.

It is slightly probable that the vaccine is dangerous, but nobody will have this certainty until many people prove it.
Neither the manufacturers the European agency wanted to give details on the basic safety experiments they run.

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