Novartis vaccine facility opens

©AP

November 24, 2009 5:19:14 PM PST
The Novartis plant in Holly Springs is the first flu cell culture manufacturing facility in the United States. It is a 430,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility. When it is fully operational, about 300 people will be employed.

The plant will make life saving vaccines. Not only is that a first of its kind facility and an economic boost in Holly springs, it also will be a boost in the fight against the flu.

Instead of using eggs, the Novartis site is the first cell=based vaccine plant in the U.S., making it a major player in the fight against future pandemics. Workers will help create 150 million doses of much needed vaccine within a six month period.

That work won't happen in enough time to meet the current high demand for the H1N1 vaccine, but the plant will specialize in a type of technology that makes vaccines more effective.

The Novartis plant comes with a $1 billion price tag -- half of it paid with federal money.

It's a worthy expense some say could help in the fight against potentially life-threatening pandemics like HIN1.

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