The manufacturing capacity for the influenza vaccines is inadequate for a world of 6.8 billion people, nearly all of whom are susceptible to infection by the new H1N1 virus, a top official of the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.
Addressing a Conference on Intellectual Property and Public Policy Issues organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva, WHO Director General Margaret Chan said most of these limited supplies would go to wealthy countries, apprehending that people in the rest part of the world might not get access to the vaccine.
In her statement, Chan said the ideal vaccine would be one that protects against seasonal influenza viruses as well as a range of candidate pandemic viruses. Transcripts of her speech were made available at the UN headquarters here.
WHO's Director-General encouraged the research and development sector, as well as academics, to work on such an innovation - calling this the "best and most rational insurance policy for increasing supplies and encouraging more equitable access"; the UN spokesman Michele Montas said briefing UN reporters.