in an opinion piece published thursday in the journal nature, stohr argues pre-pandemic immunization may be one of the few solutions to a vexing problem — there is no way to make pandemic vaccine fast enough and in large enough quantities when it is needed to have an impact on the toll the outbreak takes.
stohr is now vice-president of influenza strategy for novartis vaccines and diagnostics, the world's no. 2 flu vaccine producer and a company which stands to gain significantly if his proposal were to take off.
still, he insisted that he — not novartis — is making the proposal because the pandemic response model needs to be fixed and the available options are limited.
the big problem is, as dr. osterholm points out, no one knows what the next emerging virus is going to be (h2? h5? h7? h9?). and the experience with novel h1n1 has shown that having had an h1 vaccination (or exposure) in the past was no guarantee of immunity.
simply put, a pre-pandemic vaccine might miss the antigenic mark by a considerable margin and provide little or no protection.