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Chinese firm punished for making flawed vaccine
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China's drug watchdog has revoked the production license of a pharmaceutical company that produced flawed rabies vaccines and banned the firm's principals from any involvement in the industry for 10 years.

The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) also annul the approval certificate for the vaccine produced for human use by the Dalian Jingang-Andi Bio-products Co. Ltd.

An SFDA official told Xinhua Wednesday that general manager Wang Quanfeng and deputy general manager Luo Huosheng had been found responsible for the faulty vaccines, according to an investigation by the government of Liaoning Province, where the company is based.

However, officials were still investigating how many others could be culpable.

Police detained Wang Quanfeng, Luo Huosheng and Yu Jingqing, a purchasing agent, on Feb. 7 after the company was found to have deliberately added nucleic acid in the production of the vaccine from February to June last year.

Nucleic acid acts as an adjuvant, or a substance used to enhance the effectiveness of anti-viral drugs. However, China has yet to approve it for use in rabies vaccine as it has to undergo clinical trials before it could be used on humans.

The company is said to have added the acid to lower production costs.

According to the SFDA, of the 360,200 doses produced and sold by the company last year, 326,400 had been recalled as of Feb. 22,and most of the rest might already be used.

No problems related to the company's vaccines had been reported so far.

The SFDA said in a statement on its website that the administration was closely monitoring any vaccine-related illness and cooperating with the health authorities to reduce the harm.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2009)

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