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  25 January 2006 (Reuters)-GlaxoSmithKline plans to start final clinical trials in a bid to find a vaccine against pandemic flu, which experts fear may be triggered by bird flu, its chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier said. Garnier said the company hopes to produce the new vaccine by the end of this year.
"We are announcing that we are starting the final clinical trials in a few weeks so that by Christmas we might be in a position to produce large quantities of this pandemic vaccine," Garnier is quoted as saying in a transcript of the interview.
However, Garnier said it was difficult to say how effective the new vaccine would be, given that it was as yet unclear how the H5N1 virus would develop.
"It's all a question of mutation," Garnier said.
"If the mutation is a slight variation on H5N1 the vaccine is likely to be effective ... But if it's a wide mutation, where the new virus is systematically different from H5N1 then ... the vaccine is not going to be effective," Garnier was quoted as saying.
On 6 January, GlaxoSmithKline said it had submitted a dossier to European health care regulators seeking outline approval to market a vaccine against pandemic flu, the first vaccine manufacturer to do so under new European rules designed to put potential pandemic flu shots on a fast track for approval.
GlaxoSmithKline is one of several companies working to develop a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of the virus.
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