Sunday, August 2, 2009

1.3 Billion Chinese. 1668 H1N1 Cases. Zero Deaths. Pandemic?

A Chinese pharmaceutical firm has begun a two-month clinical test of the country's first domestically produced swine flu vaccine, state media reported on Wednesday.

Hualan Biological Engineering Inc completed the vaccine last month and will test it on more than 2,000 volunteers in the city of Taizhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu, Xinhua news agency said, citing a company official.

It said the vaccine for the A(H1N1) virus could hit the market in September -- ahead of the prime winter flu season -- if the trials are successful and that the company could make up to 600,000 doses a day.

The race for a vaccine has heated up, with the World Health Organization's top vaccine researcher, Marie-Paule Kieny, warning this month that all countries need access to vaccines as the virus was "unstoppable".

China has seen 1,668 cases of the virus, according to health ministry statistics, but no deaths have since been reported.

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