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SARS Vaccine Passes First Test

Phase one of human testing for a potential severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) vaccine, developed by Chinese scientists, has been passed.

The first of the worldwide teams to complete initial trials said that China has taken the lead in the global race to develop a remedy for the illness, according to sources from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Team head Yin Weidong said all 36 volunteers who received the vaccine showed no obvious side effects and that antibodies had been produced in their bodies.

Thirty-six healthy volunteers aged between 21 and 40 took part in the trials which began on May 22 and ended at the end of last month. 
Eighteen received an injection of a low-dosage SARS inactivated vaccine while the remaining 18 received a high dose.

Yin said antibodies in volunteers' blood serum were produced and, apart from minor side effects such as mild fever, they showed no other adverse reactions.

More than 100 leading researchers and scientists have taken part in the program, jointly launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration.

At least 10 different types of SARS vaccines are under development, according to an earlier report from the science ministry.

Four of them, developed by Canada and the US, will go into clinical trials by the end of this year. Vaccines developed by France and Austria are likely to be at the same stage next year.

The first SARS case was recorded in the southern province of Guangdong in November 2002.

The epidemic killed over 770 people worldwide, most of them in Asia, before subsiding in June.

(China Daily December 6, 2004)

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