Geneva -- Vaccines to combat the H1N1 virus could be available as early as September in some countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
-- Vaccines to combat the H1N1 virus could be available as early as September in some countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO is taking advantage of a so-called fast-track process to speed up testing and production of the vaccine in large quantities.
A statement on the WHO's Web site says the faster testing and approval process is necessary to avoid a greater outbreak. Cases of people infected with the influenza virus are expected to rise in the fall.
The H1N1 outbreak was declared a pandemic in June. Reported cases of people infected with the virus worldwide reached 162,380 July 31. More than 1,100 people have died, most of them in Central, North and South America.
Possibly raising the ire of the pork industry -- which saw a drop in demand for pork products when news of the virus broke months ago -- media reports of the announcement seemed to refer to the virus most often as "swine flu" despite attempts by the industry to encourage the use of the virus's proper name, Influenza A/H1N1. Agricultural organizations have pointed out that while the virus may have mutated from a multi-species strain, H1N1 cannot be contracted by people eating pork.