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SARS Vaccine Set for Animal Testing
Medical scientists from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland announced they have taken the first step on the way to find a vaccine for SARS, Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The reagent of vaccine for SARS that scientists have just developed will first be tested on animals over the next six months, the report said.

Scientists are as yet undecided on whether the vaccine reagent will be harmful or effective to human beings. And while this question remains unanswered they are reluctant to run human trials.

Among those working to find a vaccine for SARS are Yuan Guoyong and Guan Yi from the University of Hong Kong, Zhong Nanshan, president of the Guangdong Research Institute for Respiratory Diseases and Wen Yumei from Shanghai-based Fudan University.

Meanwhile, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who asked not to be identified, expressed his reservations about reports concerning the rapid development of a vaccine for SARS.

"I think it is not realistic to say the vaccine will be developed within months," he said.

The procedure of developing vaccine includes basic research, experiments on animals, small-scale manufacturing, asking for appraisal and clinic research.

"The procedure will need at least two years," said the academician, an expert in the field of virus vaccines.

The Ministry of Health reported nine SARS cases yesterday, all of which were in Beijing.

Among that total of newly confirmed cases, seven were from suspected ones.

Two new SARS cases were confirmed in Hong Kong yesterday, neither of which involved health care workers, according to the Department of Health and Hospital Authority.

In Shanghai, a local official said stringent government moves coupled with healthy life styles had partly contributed to Shanghai's "luckiness" in escaping the worst of SARS.

With 16 million registered residents and a migrant population of 3 million, the country's largest city had by yesterday reported only eight imported, SARS cases.

The city's situation was "so far so good," said Peng Jing, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Bureau.

(China Daily May 28, 2003)

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