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Inventor issues warning on flu jab


One of the men who invented the flu jab has warned it will do little to prevent a flu epidemic from breaking out in the UK this winter.

Australian scientist, Dr Graeme Laver, who was part of a team which helped to create the jab more than 40 years ago, believes it should not be relied upon to protect Britain from a potentially severe flu epidemic.

He told the Daily Mail: “I have never been very impressed with its (the jab’s) efficacy. It is better than nothing and I wouldn’t want to advise people not to take it, but you can’t rely on it doing any good.”

He also claims that people’s lives could be saved if drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza were used instead, once the disease has already struck.

These are both currently only available via prescription in the UK but Dr Laver argues they should be sold over the counter so that they are more readily available to flu sufferers.

Both Relenza and Tamiflu would need their drug classifications changed if they were to be sold over the counter.

Relenza has a national licence but Tamiflu is licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), meaning any status alterations for that drug would not be decided in Britain.

The manufacturer of both drugs would also first have to apply to have the classification changed, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.

Copyright © PA Business 2007

European Medicines Agency

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