The federal government is handing five drug manufacturers more than a (b) billion dollars to come up with a speedier way to turn out bird flu vaccines.
The money comes from nearly four (b) billion dollars in bird flu prevention funds approved by Congress last year.
The federal government says it needs enough vaccine on hand to inoculate every American within six months of a pandemic. Flu vaccines are made in special chicken eggs now, but that technique is too slow to produce mass quantities.
The companies getting the contracts are GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Novartis, DynPort and Solvay.