Sanofi Pasteur to provide Brazil with H1N1 vaccine

PARIS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur, part of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SASY.PA, will supply Brazil with 18 million doses of vaccines against the pandemic H1N1 flu and could supply 15 million extra doses.

Sanofi Pasteur signed an agreement with the Brazilian biomedical research unit Butantan Institute to make and supply the doses following an order from the Health Ministry.

The deal could be extended by 15 million doses if the World Health Organization (WHO) asks flu vaccine makers to switch production from the regular seasonal flu vaccine to the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement.

The pandemic H1N1 flu virus, commonly known as swine flu, continues to cause widespread infection in many parts of the world but is not becoming more serious, the WHO said on Friday.

Drugmakers are racing to develop vaccines amid experts’ warnings that a “second wave” of the virus is approaching as weather cools in the northern hemisphere and the traditional flu season starts.

Dosage requirements for the new vaccine are yet to be determined and will be based on clinical trial outcomes, said Sanofi Pasteur, which will make the vaccine. Its flu vaccine production facilities are based in Val de Reuil, France, and in Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, in the United States.

Butantan Institute will fill and package the vaccine in its Sao Paolo facility, and will be responsible for distributing the vaccine.

On Thursday, Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVN.VX said a single dose of its vaccine might protect against the virus, raising hopes that potentially tight supplies could go further when mass immunisation starts this month. [ID:nL3450192] (Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)