UBS confirms slashing 2,000 jobs in US

 UBS confirms slashing 2,000 jobs in US Zurich  - UBS, the troubled Swiss banking giant, confirmed reports Thursday that it was in the process of cutting 2,000 jobs in its wealth management division in the United States.

"This part of the headcount reduction initiative," said a UBS spokesman in Switzerland.

The company, the largest manager of wealth in the world, announced earlier this month that it will take a first-quarter loss of almost 2

billion Swiss francs (1.7 billion dollars) and cut 8,700 jobs worldwide by 2010, including over 2,000 in its base of Switzerland.

Novartis developing new flu vaccine

 Novartis developing new flu vaccine Geneva - Swiss drugmaker Novartis said Thursday it was in the process of developing a vaccine with a booster that could inoculate against all known H5N1 antigenic variants, or all types of avian influenza.

A study mixing Aflunov, an investigative pre-pandemic avian influenza vaccine, with a Novartis adjuvant, "elicited a long-lasting immune response that could be rapidly boosted following a single dose of the vaccine."

The booster shot could be taken up to six years after the original vaccine was administered.

Switzerland confirms first swine flu case

Switzerland confirms first swine flu caseGeneva - A man who recently returned from Mexico has been confirmed as having Switzerland's first case of swine flu, medical officials said Thursday.

The announcement about the 19-year-old man's condition, which was deemed stable, was made by a hospital in the canton of Baden overnight following a laboratory confirmation.

The case had initially been misdiagnosed earlier in the week, media reports said, and the man was sent home from hospital only to return.

He was being held in isolated and treated with the anti-viral Tamiflu.

Swiss presidency upset with OECD over tax list

Swiss presidency upset with OECD over tax list Bern - Switzerland sent a letter of complaint to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, posted on a government Website Wednesday, saying the think-tank did not receive its permission to publish a grey list of so called tax havens.

The OECD, which is supported a group of developed economies of which the Alpine nation is a member, placed Switzerland and several other countries on a grey list around the G20 meeting held in London at the beginning of this month.

Novartis says its new oral MS drug prevents relapses

Novartis ties up with USV to market Galvus in IndiaGeneva - Swiss drugmaker Novartis said Wednesday that 80 to 83 per cent of patients in a year-long clinical trial of its new drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis had remained relapse-free. The company said the results were in line with its previous studies on the FTY720 oral compound. The data show the relapse rate at one year was
52 per cent lower for those in the trial of the new drug compared with patients using existing medications on the market.

Swiss flu medicine producer Roche ups its preparedness

RocheGeneva - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced Wednesday that it had increased its preparedness level in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) decision to raise the pandemic influenza alert by one level to phase 4. Roche, in a statement, said it was working with "the WHO and governments around the world to make the oral anti-viral medication Tamiflu available to patients in need."

Tamiflu, produced by Roche, has been deemed to be effective against swine flu.

The company said that to date it had filled 220 million treatment courses of the drug ordered by governments.