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Federal hearing to look at UPMC vaccine facility

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  • Federal hearing to look at UPMC vaccine facility

    Federal hearing to look at UPMC vaccine facility
    By Allison M. Heinrichs
    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    A federal hearing is scheduled in Pittsburgh Friday to examine how the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center could develop the world's leading facility for manufacturing vaccines needed to quickly respond to biosecurity or infectious disease threats, officials said today.

    Sen. Arlen Specter will host the hearing, titled "Biological Threats: Is the current U.S. vaccine production system prepared?" at the U.S. Courthouse, Downtown.

    Jeffrey Romoff, UPMC president and CEO, and Dr. Donald Burke, dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health and director of its Center for Vaccine Research, will be on a panel to discuss the facility and U.S. vaccine production needs.

    They will be joined by Dr. Bruce G. Gellin, director of the National Vaccine Program Office; Dr. Philip K. Russell, senior scientific advisor of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington; Phillip Gomez, director of biodefense and public health practices for PRTM Management Consultants in Washington; and Nigel Darby, vice president of biotechnologies for GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences AB in Sweden.

    Specter gave the delay in producing a vaccine for swine flu, also known as H1N1, as a reason for the hearing. On Monday, federal health officials announced that only 45 million doses will be ready in mid-October, not the 120 million previously forecast.