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Clinical tests show China's A/H1N1 flu vaccine 'safe and effective'
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A Chinese company has completed clinical tests on a new influenza vaccine against the A/H1N1 virus, which proves to be "safe and effective."

Sinovac Biotech Company, a Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, said Tuesday it was the world's first A/H1N1 vaccine to undergo testing on humans with successful results.

Researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products conducted and supervised the test work in Beijing.

"Trials show that the first dose of vaccine triggers an immune response in the human body, good enough to protect against the A/H1N1 virus strain," Sinovac's general manager Yin Weidong said.

Yin said there had been no severe adverse reaction reported after more than 1,600 volunteers aged above three received a first inoculation on Saturday.

"The occurrence of slight adverse reactions, such as pain at the site of injection, was similar to those of seasonal flu vaccines. This means the vaccine is safe," he said.

"This will lay a good foundation for future production and use of the vaccine, once we finish overall evaluation and obtain approval from the State Food and Drug Administration," he said.

Ten Chinese pharmaceutical companies have joined the global race to produce an effective vaccine, and throughout China more than 13,300 volunteers -- including health minister Chen Zhu -- are taking part in clinical trials.

CDC director Wang Yu said last week the health ministry would unveil China's vaccination plan after clinical trials ended in mid September. He said safety was the top priority in the research and development of the drug.

By Monday, the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 2,729 confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases. There have been at least 177,457 confirmed cases globally, including 1,462 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, which last updated its statistics on Aug. 6.

(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2009)

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