Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline claims that it has produced a bird flu vaccine for humans that uses only a very low dose of the active antigen. They plan to start mass producing the drug in 2007, assuming the drug is approved by regulators.
GlaxoSmithKline believes the drug will work more efficiently because of the new adjuvant they are using, which allows for a smaller amount of antigen. An adjuvant is an additive that makes the human immune system respond more efficiently.
The antigen is produced in a very slow process, so making the maximum amount of drugs from the minimum amount of antigen is key for mass production. GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine contains only 3.8 micrograms of antigen. In contrast, a similar drug produced by Sanofi Aventis, which uses conventional adjuvants, requires 30 micrograms to achieve the same effect.
The effectiveness of GlaxoSmithKline's drug on any mutated strain of virus is unknown.