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Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC said it could start commercial production of pandemic vaccine in July but that it would take months before large quantities are available.
Glaxo spokesman Stephen Rea said the company's first doses of vaccine would be reserved for countries who had ordered it in advance, including Belgium, Britain and France. He said Glaxo would also donate 50 million doses to WHO for poor countries.
Pascal Barollier, a spokesman for Sanofi-Aventis, said they were also working on a pandemic vaccine but WHO had not yet asked them to start making mass quantities of it.
WHO described the pandemic as "moderate." Fukuda said people should not get overly anxious about the virus. "Understand it, put it in context, and then you get on with things," he said.
Still, about half of the people who have died from swine flu were previously young and healthy -- people who are not usually susceptible to flu. Swine flu is also crowding out regular flu viruses. Both features are typical of pandemic flu viruses.
Swine flu is also continuing to spread during the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Normally, flu viruses disappear with warm weather, but swine flu is proving to be resilient.
"What this declaration does do is remind the world that flu viruses like H1N1 need to be taken seriously," said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, warning that more cases could crop up in the fall.
Now that a pandemic has been declared, some countries might be prompted to devote more money to containing the virus. Many developed countries have pandemic preparedness plans that link spending to a WHO declaration.
The U.N. is keen to avoid panic. "We must guard against rash and discriminatory action, such as travel bans or trade restrictions," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Fear has already gripped Argentina, where thousands have flooded hospitals this week, bringing emergency health services in Buenos Aires to the brink of collapse during winter weather. Last month, a bus arriving in Argentina from Chile was stoned by people who thought a passenger had swine flu.
China has quarantined travelers, including New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, on the slightest suspicion of contact with an infected person.
The U.S. government has already increased the availability of flu-fighting medicines and authorized $1 billion for developing a new swine flu vaccine. In addition, new cases seem to be declining in many parts of the country, U.S. health officials say, as North America moves out of its traditional winter flu season.
Still, New York City reported three more swine flu deaths Thursday, including a child under 2, a teenager and a person in their 30s.
"Countries where outbreaks appear to have peaked should prepare for a second wave of infection," Chan warned.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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