Chinese researchers said on Monday that the first phase of clinical trials of a bird flu vaccine for humans developed by them has been found to be safe and effective.
The vaccine developed jointly by China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, Beijing Sinovac Biotech Co., was tested on six human volunteers at a Beijing hospital between November and June after the vaccine developers were given the green light by the State Food and Drug Administration to go ahead with the clinical trials.
According to the company, the first phase of clinical trails showed that the antigens worked at different levels in stimulating the production of antibodies, and the vaccine was found to be most effective at 10 microgram dosage, stimulating the production of 78.3% of protective antibodies exceeding the European Union standard of 70 % for a flu vaccine.
The vaccine developed from NIBRG-14 strain provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) protects against the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza, and according to researchers mass production of the vaccine is possible.
Fourteen people in China have so far died from the deadly virus since 2003, and experts fear that the virus, which remains an essentially animal disease, could mutate into a form that could pass easily among the humans.