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U.S. to fund 1 billion dollars to develop vaccine against A/H1N1 flu
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The U.S. government said on Friday that it planned to fund 1 billion U.S. dollars to develop a vaccine against the new A/H1N1 flu.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the government has put aside the fund in case broader vaccine production is demanded.

"The actions we are taking today will help us be prepared if a vaccine is needed," she said.

According to a government statement, the fund will be used to order antigens, the vaccine ingredient that causes the body to develop antibodies, and adjuvants from licensed flu vaccine companies and to conduct studies to determine the correct dosage of a vaccine for A/H1N1 flu.

HHS officials said that the goal is for the stockpile to allow quick production of enough shots to cover 20 million people, health care workers and people particularly vulnerable to influenza complications, if needed. That also would set up infrastructure to produce more as necessary.

"The U.S. government will share information from the results of these clinical studies with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global community so that other countries can benefit from the U.S. efforts to determine dosage, safety and effectiveness" of a new flu vaccine, the statement noted.

The H1N1 flu has infected more than 11,000 people in more than 40 countries and regions since its outbreak last month, including 6,522 cases in the United States.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2009)

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