'This Week' Transcript: Sens. Leahy and Hatch

BESSER: You know, what I can say is that we're seeing encouraging signs. And that's -- that makes us all very happy.

What we do when we get a virus, we look to see, does it relate to any other viruses? And then we look for things that are called virulence factors, those things that in the past have been linked to more severe disease.

And what we've found is that we're not seeing the factors that were associated with the 1918 pandemic. We're not seeing the factors that were associated with other H1N1 viruses. And that's encouraging.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that mean it's less likely to come back in a real strong way in the fall, as the 1918 virus did?

BESSER: We can't say that. Every virus is new. And what it will do is new. And so you're hitting a critical point. What will happen during this spring and summer? And I don't think it's time to let our guard down. I think we have to continue in an uncertain situation to be aggressive. And that's what we're doing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Sebelius, let me bring you in on this. Of course, this leads to the question of a vaccine. I know researchers are looking at it right now. Are you prepared to say we should move to full-scale production and distribution?

SEBELIUS: Well, what's going on right now, George, are two things simultaneously. We know that seasonal flu, year-in and year- out, hits millions of Americans, 200,000 people end up in the hospital and about 36,000 people die every year.

So we are ramping up and accelerating the production of seasonal flu vaccine to make sure that we kind of clear the decks. At the same time, one of the first actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services was to bring together the scientists: the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, along with the folks at Food and Drug Administration who have the oversight, with the manufacturers to begin the process to develop a vaccine for H1N1.

They've identified a virus. It's being grown and tested as we speak. And ultimately the scientists will tell us whether or not production of that vaccine makes sense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And isn't there a trade-off there? I mean, you don't want to switch to production of the H1N1 vaccine because that could crowd out the ability to produce the seasonal flu vaccine?

SEBELIUS: Well, the good news is we're in the right seasonal time. We can accelerate the seasonal flu vaccine, which we're doing right now, to be prepared and ready for what we know will hit this fall and winter.

At the same time, we are in the stages of growing the virus, testing it, and we can be ready to do both simultaneously. This isn't an either/or.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Napolitano, the government has given out guidance for the schools on what they should be doing. If someone, as I understand it, is infected in a school, there is more than one case in a school, the school should close for up to 14 days.

But you have not yet given out formal guidance on what offices, factories, and other workplaces should do. What should they be doing?

NAPOLITANO: Well, again, I think using common sense, obviously schools you give guidance on because that's really a primary place where disease gets passed one to the next.

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