Initial work on vaccine for H7N9 bird flu strain completed: officialSouce:Global Times - Xinhua Publish By Gloria C. Gonzales Updated 16/08/2013 4:31 pm in Technology / 1 comment
The new strain of bird flu, H7N9, has killed 45 people on the Chinese mainland since the first human infection was confirmed in Shanghai in late March, a health official said Thursday.
A total of 134 cases of infection have been confirmed, said Wang Yu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There are still many unknown aspects of the H7N9 bird flu virus, as well as diseases that might result from it, including the source of the virus, its infection routes and mutation,” said Wang.
The future development of the new bird flu virus is still unclear, he said, warning that the risks of pandemic influenza should not be underestimated.
Preliminary work on the manufacturing of a H7N9 vaccine has finished as scheduled, according to Zou Yong, quality director of the Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd, which is in charge of H7N9 vaccine development.
Three batches of vaccine fluid have been prepared and are ready for rationing and vaccine formulation. This will be followed by safety appraisals, stability studies and clinical trials, said Zou.
The vaccine has proven effective in animal tests and its suitability for humans will be further studied.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission said it maintains its assessment on the public health risks of H7N9 avian flu, despite a research paper published by the British Medical Journal indicating possible human-to-human transmission.
“The report does not change China’s judgment of public health risks imposed by the disease,” said Deng Haihua, spokesperson of the commission.
A father and his daughter were both killed by H7N9 in Jiangsu Province in April. Researchers studied the cases and concluded that the virus may have spread from father to daughter but the transmission was limited and non-sustainable.
Global Times – Xinhua