Swine flu vaccine might be ready this fall

If all goes well, a vaccine against the H1N1 flu virus could be available for widespread use by October.h1n1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shipped samples of the swine flu virus to companies working on the vaccine a few days ago, Reuters reports.

Several companies, including AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit, have begun working on the vaccine. Pilot batches could be ready in a few weeks for testing in people over the summer. Those trials would help determine the right dose and whether an adjuvant is need to get the right response. The feds have committed $1 billion to aid vaccine development.

An adjuvant, or immune-system booster, might also be used to stretch the supply of vaccine so that the batches produced could protect more people, a CDC official told Reuters.

Separately, China released a group of school children from Maryland who had been held in quarantine since arriving in the country on a trip a week ago. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities reported the first case of swine flu transmitted from one person to another inside the country.

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