Friday, April 4, 2008

Bird Flu Vaccine for Humans is Approved in China

Beijing has given permission for mass production of a Bird Flu vaccine for humans. China's State Food and Drug Administration authorised production of the vaccine last Wednesday.
On Thursday the vaccine developers, China’s Centres for Disease Control and Sinovac Biotech, released that the vaccine passed the second clinical test and has been proven safe and effective.

In November, the 402 people that the vaccine was tested on were checked for antibodies, safety and immune response and met international standards of both the United States and European unions. The participants were between the ages 18 and 60, minor effects were found but only like those of a general flu shot.

The vaccine was tested with different amounts; both the 10 and 15 microgram doses met the standard, with the decision was made that the 10 microgram dose was best due to less use of the antigen.

‘Antigens are substances like toxins, viruses and bacteria that stimulate the production of antibodies when introduced into the body. But they can be difficult to culture and scientists have been trying to fix that by using boosters, or adjuvants.’ Tan Ee Lyn reported.
There have been warnings that there may be a flu pandemic and the H5N1 virus from Vietnam has always been an option due to humans having no immunity to the flu and the increasing mortality rate and it has now been used in the vaccine. Since 2003, 63% of infected people have died from the virus.

Unfortunately a vaccine can only be made 4-6 months after the start of the outbreak due to needing to identify the culprit virus strain. Humans still need protection during those first months, however, so there is currently work being done in order to create ‘prepandemic’ vaccines.

Tests are currently taking place in order to see if the vaccine can control other strains of the flu in other infected countries.
By Bianca

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