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    Swine Flu One Step Closer to Pandemic

    World Health Organization Again Raises Pandemic Alert Level Due to Swine Flu

    Swine Flu Vaccine Work Under Way continued...

    A swine flu vaccine may be created by early fall, but that doesn't mean it will be ready for distribution by then, health officials noted at the news conference.

    Developing a vaccine means conducting clinical trials to see if the vaccine is safe, if it works, and what dose is needed, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the news conference.

    Fauci predicted that clinical trials of a vaccine against the new flu virus -- which he calls the H1N1 virus -- will "probably begin within a couple of months" and take several months.

    'Serious Virus'

    During today's joint news conference, a reporter asked why officials are so concerned about the new flu virus, given the fact that normal seasonal flu kills an average of 36,000 people in the U.S. during a typical flu season.

    The reason is that it's a new, unpredictable virus that "has pandemic potential," Fauci replied. "It really is something different."

    "This is a serious virus, this is a serious outbreak," Besser agreed.

    "You don't know if it's going to fizzle out in a couple weeks or become more or less virulent or severe in the diseases it causes," Besser said. "If we could see into the future, that would be wonderful. But that's not the case. That's why we're being aggressive."

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