Europe secures first contracts for flu pandemic

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As part of the response to a pandemic emergency, UK-based flu prevention specialist, Seqirus, has signed contracts with the European Commission and 15 EU Member States to supply flu vaccines.

The company is the first influenza vaccine manufacturer to sign pandemic contracts under the EU joint procurement framework.

A pandemic occurs when an influenza virus which was not previously circulating among humans and to which most people don’t have immunity emerges and transmits among humans.

As the majority of the population has no immunity to these viruses, an outbreak can result in significant morbidity and mortality.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that a severe pandemic could infect up to a quarter of the population of the EU, with many millions of cases and tens of thousands of deaths.

“According to the WHO, influenza remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges and the question is not whether we will have another pandemic, but when,” said Gordon Naylor, President of Seqirus.

“We are committed to working with our partners to protect people around the world by providing rapid access to influenza vaccines during a pandemic emergency.”

The development of the EU joint procurement framework was driven by the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, which highlighted the lack of consistency in access to pandemic vaccines between EU countries.

The WHO’s Global Influenza Strategy for 2019 – 2030 states that a severe pandemic can result in widespread social and economic effects, including a loss of national economic productivity and severe economic burdens on affected citizens and communities.