DUBAI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates firm Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar) said this week it had acquired exclusive rights to manufacture an H1N1 vaccine by China’s Hualan Biological.
A statement on UAE state news agency WAM late on Thursday said Julphar, a firm based in the UAE emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, would seek to sell and market the single shot vaccine, which has been approved by Chinese health authorities, around the Middle East and North Africa.
Pharmaceutical firms are in a race worldwide to produce vaccines against H1N1 before the northern hemisphere winter, when experts warn the flu virus could spread more widely.
Hualan’s deal with Julphar is a sign of competition heating up in the Arab region.
Saudi drugmaker Tabuk Pharmaceuticals entered an agreement earlier this month to produce and sell vaccine by Canadian firm Medicago Inc in the Middle East and North Africa.
Sixty-four people have died so far in the Arabian Peninsula, including 26 in Saudi Arabia — which will receive up to two million Muslim pilgrims from around the world in November for the haj pilgrimage at Mecca in its western region.