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All eyes are on swine flu potential — MedCity morning read, April 28

Heads of state, health care officials, ordinary citizens — and the Wall Street Journal and New York Times — are tracking the advance of swine flu across the world. Roche is ready to deliver up to 3 million doses of its anti-viral medicine, Tamiflu.

Heads of state, health care officials, ordinary citizens — and the Wall Street Journal and New York Times — are tracking the advance of swine flu across the world.

Writers at the two papers are posting up-to-the-minute updates on where the flu is, and what governments and corporations are doing about it.

On Sunday, Swiss drug company Roche Holding AG said it stands ready to deliver up to 3 million Tamiflu doses to the World Health Organization. Anti-viral medicines like Tamiflu can help flu sufferers recover quicker and with fewer side-effects.

Roche also said half of the Tamiflu it is donating is being stored in the United States, the other half in Switzerland. “As soon as the WHO tells us how many doses need to be delivered where, we will supply it,” Roche spokeswoman Claudia Schmitt told MarketWatch.

Also on Sunday, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency, releasing the nation’s stockpile of anti-virals. Drugstore operator CVS Caremark said it’s stocking up on Tamiflu.

On Monday, shares of drug companies that make anti-virals, vaccines and tests rose on Wall Street. Shares of Roche, Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline were among those that rose an average 6 percent.

Meanwhile, the threat of a swine flu pandemic unsteadied investors and business people Tuesday, disrupting travel plans and sending some stock markets down on fears that a pandemic would worsen the world’s already poor economy.

More stories worth a read:

New York Times swine flu map is at: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/04/26/us/20090427-flu-graphic.html