Thursday, December 08, 2005

News - Prospect of made-in-VN vaccine against H5N1 virus for humans

The World Health Organisation has asked Vietnamese scientists from the Central Hygiene and Epidemiology Institute (CHEI) to cooperate in creating a vaccine against the H5N1 virus for humans.

The request reflects the WHO?s recognition of Vietnamese scientists? capability, as they have in a short period developed six different types of H5N1 vaccines which have met the WHO?s minimal required protocols.

These vaccines have been successfully tested on mice, chickens and monkeys and their samples have been sent to WHO?s labs for re-examination.

While awaiting the results from WHO?s labs, Vietnamese developers of H5N1 vaccine have submitted a request to authorised agencies for permission to conduct human testing for their products.

According to Prof. Nguyen Thi Thu Van, a member of the vaccine research group, human testing will be carried out in two phases.

In the first phase, the vaccine would be tested on around 20-30 people, mainly on vaccine developers, to examine its safety.

In the second phase, the testing would be conducted on 200-300 people to re-check the vaccine?s safety and its immunity, said Prof. Van, who is Director of the Vaccines and Bioproducts Company No.1.

If the human testing for the vaccine is successful, the Vietnamese-made H5N1 vaccine for humans could be ready for mass-production four months later, at a cost of around VND30,000 VND (roughly US$1.9) per dose.

Scientists from CHEI started developing H5N1 vaccines in late 2004, when bird flu re-emerged in Viet Nam and other countries.

Scientists have used cell culture technology, which involves taking a seed virus from deactivated or weakened form of the virus from a bird flu victim. The sample is then grown in monkey kidney cells.

Avian influenza has claimed 42 lives in Viet Nam since it first hit the country late 2003.

VietNamNet Bridge

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