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GSK steps up swine flu vaccine production

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Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has increased production of the H1N1 vaccine to combat swine flu.

The company has announced that it now has contracts to provide 195 million doses around the world and said that it was in ‘discussions’ with over 50 governments to provide further doses. It will also give the World Health Organisation 50 million doses.

It said that it expected further ‘significant orders’ of the swine flu vaccine in coming months and that shipments of the medicine were expected in the second half of this year and early 2010.

The company also plans to triple the availability of its swine flu treatment Relenza to 190 million doses per year by the end of 2009.

So far the World Health Organization estimates more than 700 people have died from H1N1 worldwide and 31 deaths have now been recorded in the UK.

GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Andrew Witty said: ‘In these last three months, governments have rapidly strengthened their pandemic stockpile and prevention strategies, and whilst we are currently seeing a heightened period of demand, it is likely that we will see a sustained level of orders for pandemic products over the next few years.’

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