National

Nov 18, 2009 1:53 PM by Associated Press

Vaccines on horizon for AIDS, Alzheimer's, herpes

Vaccines, once relegated to back burner status at pharmaceutical companies, are starting to become big business for ailing drugmakers.

New vaccines could be coming online within the next five years for a whole raft of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, pandemic flu and others.

Advances in technology and growing government support has enhanced the lure of big profits. Vaccines now are viewed as a crucial path to growth, as drugmakers look for ways to bolster slowing prescription medicine sales amid intensifying generic competition and government pressure to cut prices.

Vaccines help prevent infections by revving up the body's natural immune defenses.

Investment in partnerships and other deals to develop and manufacture vaccines have accelerated since the swine flu pandemic began.

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