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Vietnam considering using bird flu vaccines on humans on trial basis
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Vietnam's biggest vaccine producer is going to ask for approval from the country's Health Ministry to use its bird flu vaccines on humans on a trial basis, according to local newspaper New Hanoi on Tuesday.

The Institute of Vaccines and Biological Substances in Nha Trang city, central Khanh Hoa province, which has recently turned out over 5,500 doses of H5N1 bird flu vaccines named Fluvac in labs, wants to conduct clinical vaccination tests on people. Its vaccines used on animals, including white mice, Guinea pigs and roosters have proved effective.

The World Health Organization has so far disbursed 1.3 million U.S. dollars out of its total pledge of 2.7 million dollars to theinstitute, helping it build a bird flu vaccine plant with annual capacity of 0.5-1 million doses in the province's Dien Khanh district. The plant is expected to start trial operation in early 2009.

To date, Vietnam has confirmed a total of 105 human cases of bird flu infections, including 51 fatalities, in 35 cities and provinces since bird flu started to hit the country in December 2003.

Vietnam currently has seven localities having poultry being hit by bird flu: Thai Nguyen, Quang Ninh, Hai Duong, Nam Dinh, Tuyen Quang and Ninh Binh in the northern region, and southern Long An province, said the Department of Animal Health under the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)

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