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World first in flu vaccination

The misery of flu may soon be a thing of the past


The world's first flu vaccination in spray form, developed by a research institute in Berne, will go on sale in Switzerland after receiving approval by the public health authorities.

Around 150,000 doses of the new drug will be released onto the market as the country prepares for winter, allowing thousands to avoid an unpleasant injection.

The new vaccine, pioneered by the Swiss Serum and Immunisation Institute, Berna, promises to provide protection from the influenza virus for up to six months.

Unlike most vaccines, this one is administered through a nasal spray, and available on prescription. The company says it creates a protective barrier in the nose, helping to keep flu at bay. The vaccine has been clinically tested on 2,000 people.

The new medication has won the backing of the Federal Health Office. Spokesman, Franz Reigel, says the office expects it will significantly reduce cases of flu in the coming season.

This winter, only 150,000 doses of the vaccine will be available on the market in Switzerland. The institute says that lack of capacity means the rest of the population will have to wait until next year before they can buy a dose.

The vaccine has also been approved for use in Germany, and should therefore get the go-ahead for use across the European Union.

swissinfo with agencies

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