* Order for nasal spray vaccine against H1N1 flu
* Company sees potential for additional U.S. orders
(Adds detail, background)
LONDON, June 1 AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) MedImmune
biotechnology unit has won an initial $90 million order from the
U.S. government to make a live attentuated vaccine against the
new H1N1 flu strain, it said on Monday.
The potential exists for further additional orders from the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it said.
MedImmune's vaccine technology, currently only available in
the United States, is different from traditional injectable flu
shots in that it is a mist sprayed into the nose, where the flu
virus usually enters the body.
It contains live, weakened virus that does not cause the flu
but still prompts the body to mount an immune response.
The HHS said on May 22 it was setting aside $1 billion to
help companies develop vaccines against the new strain of H1N1
influenza sweeping the world.
Experts say a vaccine against the new strain -- also known
as swine flu -- would probably have to be given separately from
the seasonal flu vaccine, which is a mixture of three flu
strains reformulated every year. Vaccine makers are almost done
with making the autumn flu vaccine for the northern hemisphere.
MedImmune plans to begin shipping the first of 10 million
doses of its seasonal FluMist vaccine to U.S. healthcare
providers in August.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Dan Lalor)