This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 4, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: And the government is awarding $1 billion to five drug companies. It will be spent on developing new and improved flu vaccines, including the deadly bird flu. As part of this deal, the companies must develop the vaccines on U.S. soil. It comes one day after the government warned that a bird flu pandemic could claim up to two million American lives.
My next guest runs one of those companies and may — may — just have the magic bullet to combat the bird flu. Jean-Pierre Garnier is the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline (Spanish flu that killed 50 million people, at a time where people did not take airplanes and — and the like. And we have had some false alarms, with the swine flu under President Ford, and more recently in Hong Kong.
So, it could happen any place, any time. And we have to be ready. The reason why people are more worried today is because of the spread of the so-called H5N1 virus. We have seen that virus spread across the world very quickly with the chicken and the turkeys and the geese and so forth.
And if this virus was to mutate into a killer for man, it could be very sudden and propagate the epidemic. But there's no reason to panic. It's not happening yet. But being ready is a must.
CAVUTO: Do you think we are ready, Mr. Garnier, if it does spread, that — that people who want vaccines here will be able to get vaccines here?
GARNIER: No. We are not ready. In fact, our own vaccine is still a few months away from mass production.
We are at the end of the process. We have made significant progress. But this is not the end of it. The country must implement this plan that was presented by the administration yesterday...
CAVUTO: So, in a worst-case scenario, sir, if we were to discover this erupting somewhere in the continental United States, we would be a few months away from treating people en masse?
We expect it to be in mass production around November or December this year. But that is still a few months away. And it will take time, of course, to manufacture hundreds of millions of vaccines. And that's part of the plan of the administration, to try to speed up the effort.
CAVUTO: Right. Right, and to share it among companies.
Now, the upshot, then, for folks listening is, if this comes sooner than expected, we could be in trouble?
GARNIER: Yes, absolutely.
CAVUTO: Interesting. If that is the case, what's the best recommendation for those inflicted with it?
GARNIER: Well, some of the aspects of the plan are describing what needs to be done: Stay away from a large concentration of people, obviously. Stay home, away from the declared cases. And, also, use antiviral medicine, if you have symptoms.
There are two, Relenza from GlaxoSmithKline, and Tamiflu from Roche. Those are products that can protect you and which have been used in Asia for the few people that got infected.
So, there are things you can do. But, clearly, this is not the best- case scenario. Hopefully, we will be able to stockpile enough vaccine on time to avoid a catastrophic event.
CAVUTO: Jean-Pierre Garnier, thank you, sir. We appreciate the update.
GARNIER: Thank you.
Content and Programming Copyright 2006 FOX News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, Inc.'s and Voxant Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.