Akzo Nobel to develop bird flu vaccine

The Dutch-Swedish pharamceutical group Akzo Nobel said on Tuesday that it would develop a vaccine against the human form of bird flu and that tests would begin next year.

Akzo Nobel said that its subsidiary Nobilon International was working on developing a vaccine against the human variant H5N1 of bird flu. Nobilon International was working with a pharmaceutical arm of Akzo Nobel, Organon.

The group said that development work was in an initial phase. Work so far had been approved under the European standard for good manufacturing practice issued by the pharmaceutical industry and work could now progress to production and clinical trials.

The first tests were planned for 2006. The vaccine would be developed in The Netherlands in a factory run by Nobilon at Boxmeer in the east of the country.

The veterinary branch of Akzo Nobel, Intervet, already provides a vaccine for administration to poultry as a defence against bird flu.