Cooney-Waters works on Sanofi flu vaccine

NEW YORK: A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel last week backed a new vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine business of the Paris-based drug giant Sanofi-Aventis, to combat avian flu pandemic.

NEW YORK: A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel last week backed a new vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine business of the Paris-based drug giant Sanofi-Aventis, to combat avian flu pandemic.

If approved, it would be the first H5N1 vaccine in the US.

Cooney-Waters Group, who has long assisted the company with influenza line, which includes pandemic, is working on the approval effort, according to Patty Tomsky, PR manager for influenza at Sanofi Pasteur.

The panel voted unanimously last week that the vaccine was safe enough to be used, but it is still unclear exactly how effective it will be because it is unethical to infect trial participants with the potentially deadly virus.

"It's an important first step and we're proud to be a part of this historic step in pandemic preparedness," Tomsky said.

Sanofi will not sell the drug commercially, but the government has plans to stock enough H5N1 vaccine to give to 20 million emergency workers in case a pandemic breaks out. The company has already produced the vaccine required for the government stockpile.

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