New leader in race for human bird flu vaccine
GlaxoSmithKline, Europe's largest pharmaceutical group, has achieved
the most promising results so far in experiments for a human vaccine for avian
The company claimed that it could have an effective human vaccine to combat
the deadly H5N1 bird
flu virus by next year.
In the company's trials, more than 80
percent of the 400 healthy adult subjects given the vaccine demonstrated a
strong immunity to the effects of H5N1. This level of protection meets or
exceeds target criteria set by regulatory agencies for registration of influenza
GlaxoSmithKline's CEO JP Garnier said: "These excellent
clinical trial results represent a significant breakthrough in the development
of our pandemic flu vaccine. This is the first time such a low dose of H5N1
antigen has been able to stimulate this level of strong immune
There is still a lot more work to be done with this
programme, but this validation of our approach provides us with the confidence
to continue developing the vaccine, including assessment of its ability to offer
cross-protection to variants of the H5N1 strain. All being well, we expect to
make regulatory filings for the vaccine in the coming months."
like rivals Sanofi and Novartis, has been racing to develop an effective vaccine as a
treatment for humans. Central to their efforts has been producing the maximum
number of shots of a vaccine with the minimum amount of antigen.
first company to produce a treatment available commercially stands to
generate big profits because of the interest among governments in
stockpiling H5N1 vaccines.
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