Health and Human Services Reports 2009 H1N1Vaccine Development Activities

Overview of  H1N1 (Swine Flu) influenza virus

The newly emergent 2009 H1N1 influenza virus is a novel virus with pandemic potential. Consistent with the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, HHS is committing funds for the production of pilot lots for clinical studies, as well as a bulk supply of antigen and adjuvant for use in a potential vaccine for the 2009 H1N1 which will become a part of the national stockpile of pre-pandemic influenza vaccines.

A vaccine is made from a virus or bacteria (referred to as an antigen), which causes the human body’s immune system to develop antibodies against a specific virus or bacteria so the body can recognize and fight the virus or bacteria. Adjuvants may be added to a vaccine to help generate a stronger immune response so less vaccine is needed for the body to recognize and fight a virus or bacteria.

Vaccine Development

When the 2009 H1N1 strain was isolated and identified as a novel influenza virus, work began to prepare a virus reference strain. This is a standard practice when new influenza strains are discovered, where a clinical sample of the virus is mixed with another influenza virus that grows in eggs to develop a new virus that has some of the properties of the novel virus and the ability to grow in eggs. This work is necessary in order to create an influenza vaccine using conventional methods.

Once a virus reference strain is ready, it will be made available to influenza vaccine manufacturers in order to create a master virus seed, which prepares a virus to be used in making the vaccine.

Health and Human Services (HHS)Contracting Activities

Since 2004, HHS has contracted with manufacturers that currently hold U.S. licenses for flu vaccine as part of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. In May 2009, HHS issued new orders on these contracts to produce a bulk supply of vaccine antigen and adjuvant and to produce pilot (also called investigational) lots of a 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Most will be stored in bulk, and a small amount will be prepared as vaccine for use in clinical studies to evaluate vaccine safety and the dosage required for a protective effect. This research will include studies with adjuvant to determine its safety and the effect it would have on the immune system’s response.

Orders for Bulk Supply of 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Antigen and Adjuvant


Bulk Vaccine Antigen

Oil-In-Water Bulk Adjuvant

Novartis $150 million $139 million
GlaxoSmithKline $ 38 million $144 million
Sanofi Pasteur $191 million
CSL Biotherapies $180 million
MedImmune $ 90 million
Total $649 million $283 million

Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.