Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group has received the new influenza A(H1N1) seedvirus, enabling the company tobegin the production process for an A(H1N1) vaccine. The emergence of a new influenza A(H1N1) virus strain recently led theWorld Health Organization (WHO) to declare a Level 5 pandemic alert, followinghuman-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHOregion. "As a company committed to protecting human health, Sanofi Pasteur looksforward to quickly understanding how this virus performs in a vaccinemanufacturing environment and developing a working seed that will enablelarge-scale production," said Wayne Pisano, President and CEO of SanofiPasteur. "This is an important step for engaging Sanofi Pasteur's resourcesand expertise to support public health authorities and the directives theyprovide us." Receipt of the seed virus means that Sanofi Pasteur will begin thedevelopment process, called "passaging," that will yield a "working seed."Passaging is the process for acclimating virus to grow in a productionenvironment at optimum yield. The passaging process is expected to takeapproximately two weeks. Following quality controls, Sanofi Pasteur will beprepared to begin industrial production as soon as directed by public healthagencies. Sanofi Pasteur operates influenza vaccine production facilities inSwiftwater, Pa. and Val de Reuil, France.