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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Channelnewsasia.com > China approves human trials for new SARS vaccine

Channelnewsasia.com

BEIJING : China has approved a new vaccine for the pneumonia-like disease Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to go through human trials, state media reported on Saturday.

The vaccine, developed by a Beijing-based inspection and quarantine body, was created in October and is undergoing clinical trials, the China Daily said.

Tests on monkeys at Wuhan University in central China's Hubei province proved successful, the paper cited an official surnamed Dong with the Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau as saying.

Dong claimed antibodies were found in the animals injected with the vaccine, and none of them developed symptoms of the deadly disease.

The official refused to say when and where the human trials would be carried out.

Dong said the vaccine could be produced in large quantities and had a longer shelf life than other existing vaccines which could enable it to prevent an outbreak more effectively.

"Our vaccine could be good for three years before it is injected into people," Dong said.

Another vaccine was meanwhile ready for a second phase of human trials.

Zhong Nanshan, president of the Chinese Medical Association, said last month that scientists in Beijing would test the effectiveness of the vaccine produced by a Beijing-based company among volunteers aged 20 to 60.

Initial trials involving 36 volunteers in Beijing found antibodies against the disease developed in all volunteers, without obvious side effects.

Scientists now want to sign up 300 volunteers for the second phase.

The new vaccine, produced by Beijing's Sinovac Biotech Co Ltd, must go through three phases of trials before it can be licensed for public use.

SARS emerged in China in late 2002 and spread globally to infect more than 8,000 people and kill some 800 worldwide, including 349 in China. - AFP/de

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