Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi-Aventis, says it has delivered 15,000 additional doses of its H5N1 influenza vaccine to the US government, including investigational doses formulated with an adjuvant, for testing.

The new shipment boosts the value of the USA’s original contract with Sanofi Pasteur to $150 million from $100 million.

The doses contain different levels of antigen, as well as alum, an adjuvant that could increase the vaccine's effectiveness and enable the use of less antigen to get an immune response, boosting the number of doses that can be supplied from limited antigen stocks.

Sanofi Pasteur also said it has completed production of additional bulk supplies of the H5N1 vaccine antigen for the US government stockpile. Testing at the National Institutes of Health will now determine the Once the optimal dosage is established, the bulk-concentrate antigen will be ready for final formulation and filling into doses.

- Meanwhile, the FDA has approved a new laboratory test that can diagnose H5 strains of influenza in patients suspected to be infected with the virus in as little as four hours. Previously it could take two to three days to get results. The new kit can quickly tell if a patient has an H5 strain and needs to be quarantined, with further testing needed to identify the specific flu type.