Tuesday, October 7, 2003

What's the buzz?

Vaccine contract goes to local firm

Enquirer staff

Newtown-based Meridian Bioscience Inc. on Monday said it had been awarded a contract to manufacture Parvovirus B19 vaccine for The National Institutes of Health.

The vaccine will be made at Meridian's Viral Antigens Inc. subsidiary in Memphis.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute will pay about $1.4 million for Viral Antigens to manufacture enough Parvovirus B19 vaccine sufficient for phase I human clinical trials. The institute has an option to purchase additional vaccine for phase II human clinical trials.

The phase I trial will start in June 2004, with vaccine production to begin next month. Parvovirus B19 infection is common among children and adults and often shows no symptoms. It can result in serious and occasionally fatal hematologic diseases and is the cause of "fifth disease," a highly contagious infection of childhood.

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