CSL Limited, Australia’s leading biopharmaceutical company, has announced that it is donating 3 million doses of pandemic H1N1 2009 vaccine to the World Health Organization for use in priority low-income countries in the South Pacific as well as South East Asia.
CSL is the only manufacturer of influenza vaccine in the Southern Hemisphere.
The WHO has long stressed the need for developing countries to get access to some doses of the vaccine if the global campaign against the virus is to be effective.
On Monday the WHO's head of vaccine research, Marie-Paule Kieny, told journalists in Geneva that about 100 low- and middle-income countries would receive donated vaccines. "We are trying to have a first delivery starting in November," she said.
The Australian government will donate 10 percent of the H1N1 vaccine purchased from CSL to the WHO, according to a press release from CSL. Australia’s total contribution of vaccine to the developing world is more than 5 million doses.
Nine other nations have also pledged to donate 10 percent of their vaccine purchases to poorer countries.
Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline are donating about 150 million doses of the vaccine, with an unspecified amount coming from a third company, Medimmune.
The WHO says more doses are needed.