The first batch of antiviral drugs to combat Influenza A (H1N1) virus, which is responsible for the swine flu pandemic around the world, has been developed by a Shanghai firm.
The Shanghai Pharmaceutical (Group) Co. Ltd. has manufactured 256,000 Oseltamivir Phosphate Capsules, after all the quality tests required were passed.
"The antiviral drug, or the Chinese version of Tamiflu by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding, was first produced in 2005 to cope with the bird flu outbreak with the authorization of Roche," said Xinhua quoted Wu Jianwen, president of Shanghai Pharmaceutical, as saying.
The Shanghai Pharmaceutical had closed down production of Oseltamivir Phosphate Capsules in 2007, however, following a call from the central government to combat the A(H1N1) flu, it resumed production of the pill in April 2009.
"Currently, we'll be able to turn out 2 million pills per month, and we can expand the output capacity in the future if the flu epidemic shows new changes," said Wu Jianwen.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Health, China has at least 570 confirmed cases of A(H1N1) flu, but no fatalities have been reported.
Meanwhile, China has also set up laboratory tests on the country's first developed A(H1N1) flu vaccine, with the help of the seed virus that they have received from a World Health Organization (WHO) lab.
The vaccine will undergo a 14 day safety tests in labs and two-month of clinical tests from July. Subsequently, it is expected to be available in markets in September.