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Companies test swine flu vaccines

TWO Chinese pharmaceutical firms kicked off two-month clinical tests on the country's swine flu vaccines yesterday.

More than 2,000 volunteers from Taizhou in eastern China's Jiangsu Province took part in the trials carried out by Hualan Biological Engineering Inc, said Fan Bei, the company's deputy general manager.

The tests came one month after the vaccines were produced by the Henan-based company, and submitted for laboratory test in June.

Hualan was among the first in China to receive the seed virus of the H1N1 flu on June 3, and produced the country's first batch of H1N1 vaccines, 90,000 doses, by June 22.

The clinical trials, supervised by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, were aimed at specifying the dosage and the immunity procedures of the vaccines, said Fan.

The volunteers, divided into five age groups, would receive the vaccines this week and a second round of inoculation 21 days after.

Two injections

During the two-month clinical test, the volunteers would have antibody tests four times, Fan said. Follow-up tests would continue till six months after their initial vaccination.

Previous reports said the vaccines were expected to hit the market in September should they pass both laboratory and clinical tests, and the Hualan would be able to make 600,000 doses a day.

The Beijing bureau of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday also began clinical tests on the vaccines produced by Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

A total of 1,600 participants would receive the vaccines this week, said Yin Weidong, general manager of Kexing.

Participants aged between three and 60 would receive another round of vaccination 21 days after their initial vaccination, same as the participants in the Hualan test. But participants aged over 60 would only receive first round of inoculation, Yin said.

The clinical test would be completed by mid-September, he said.

As of 6pm yesterday, 1,772 cases of the H1N1 influenza had been reported on the mainland, of whom 1,454 had recovered and been discharged from hospital, the Health Ministry said.


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