ASTANA -- Kazakh health officials today presented to the media Refluvac, a drug that they say vaccinates against the swine flu, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
Kazakh Science and Education Minister Zhanseit Tuymebaev told journalists in Astana that the first strain of the H1N1 flu virus became available for Kazakh scientists in August when swine-flu patients were confirmed in the country.
Seidgapbar Mamadaliev, the director of the Biological Safety Institute at the Science and Education Ministry, told RFE/RL that the research and testing needed to create Refluvac took place in the town of Gvardeysky in the southern Zhambyl Oblast.
He said Refluvac will be available in pharmacies soon.
Oleg Kiselev, the director of Russia's Influenza Research Institute, told RFE/RL that the new vaccine will be officially registered in about eight to 10 weeks.
Mamadaliev said Kazkahstan would be able to provide the vaccine to the 60 million people living in Central Asia.
Currently, the only swine-flu vaccine available in Kazakhstan is called Influvac and is produced by the Dutch company Solvay. It costs about $13 per dose. Tuymebaev said Refluvac will be 40 percent cheaper than Influvac.
As the fall flu season hits, fears of a swine-flu pandemic have grown in Eastern Europe after Ukraine saw a massive outbreak. Click here
for RFE/RL's coverage of the virus's spread.