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Update on Pandemic Influenza Antiviral Stockpile Myth

Recombinomics Commentary
March 2, 2005

>>  The production rate for Tamiflu has been at about 1.5 million doses per year.  Production is being increased to 4 million doses, so if 3 million doses were available, that would be enough antiviral to protect 100,000 people for a month.  However, the 100,000 would be for the entire world, not just London. <<

The 4 million dose earlier estimate was based on an article at the Roche Colorado website describing remedies for the vaccine shortage.  However, a review of reported revenues by Roche or royalties paid to Gilead suggests that the 4 million doses was actually referring to 4 million courses of 10 pills each for individuals or possibly a month's supply of 30 pills, which would translate into 120 million pills per year.  Thus, Roche's total annual production would protect 4 million people for a month, if the recommended prophylactic dose of 1 pill per day provided sufficient protection against a pandemic influenza such as the H5N1 in Vietnam or Thailand.

However, even this higher projected production level would still fall well short of government announcements on efforts to stockpile enough Tamiflu to treat 1/4 of their population.

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