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Influenza Vaccine: Federal Investments in Alternative Technologies and Challenges to Development and Licensure

GAO-11-435 Published: Jun 27, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2011.
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Production delays for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic vaccine using the current egg-based production technology heightened interest in alternative technologies that could expand the supply or accelerate the availability of influenza vaccine. Within the federal government, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) support the development of technologies that can be used in producing influenza vaccines. HHS's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews licensing applications for new vaccine, and the Department of State is the U.S. diplomatic liaison to the international entity that declares worldwide pandemics. GAO was asked to review federal activities for the development of alternative technologies used in producing influenza vaccine. This report examines (1) federal funding from fiscal year 2005 through March 2011 for alternative technologies and the status of manufacturers' efforts, (2) challenges to development and licensure identified by stakeholders, and (3) how HHS is addressing those challenges. GAO reviewed HHS and DOD documents and funding data. GAO also interviewed stakeholders, including manufacturer representatives, industry associations, and other experts on challenges to development and licensure. GAO interviewed HHS officials on how they are addressing those challenges.

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Emergency preparednessFederal fundsFederal regulationsInfectious diseasesInfluenzaInvestmentsLicensesManufacturing industryMedical technologyPandemicPharmaceutical industryPublic healthResearch and developmentSafety regulationVaccinationPublic health emergencies