Mexico has inaugurated a $140 million lab to manufacture influenza vaccines, a year-and-a-half after it attracted worldwide attention as ground zero of the H1N1 swine flu. President Felipe Calderon says the facility built and operated by French company Sanofi-Pasteur will help Mexico be better prepared to deal with a flu pandemic.
Sanofi-Pasteur says in a statement that the plant will produce 30 million doses of antigen, the key vaccine ingredient, annually and that a government-run manufacturer will finish the production and distribute the vaccine.
The plant was built outside Mexico City and inaugurated Friday. The H1N1 swine flu was first identified in Mexico in April 2009 and was quickly declared a world pandemic, causing 17,800 deaths in more than 200 countries.