A new human case of H5N1 bird flu, the first this year, was confirmed in
China as health authorities step up efforts to develop a vaccine for the deadly
The developer of the vaccine told China Daily yesterday it is waiting for
State approval to start the second phase of clinical trials.
A 44-year-old woman from a remote village in East China's Fujian Province was
diagnosed on February 18 as having the virus, according to the Xinhua News
The villager, surnamed Li, had developed a fever after she had eaten two
chickens she had raised.
Tests by the
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the woman had
contracted the H5N1 strain.
She only raised a few chickens, and disease control professionals have not
traced the virus to other chickens in her village.
The source of infection, they suggested, might have come from migrating wild
Li is reportedly in a serious condition at a local hospital. All who have had
close contact with her are being closely monitored, although none have so far
shown any symptoms of virus infection.
Zhang Changpin, vice-governor of the Fujian Province, has ordered the
compulsory inoculation of all chickens, and has required local authorities to
set up inoculation files and issue certificates for inoculated birds, Xinhua
The Ministry of Health told Xinhua it had already notified the World Health
Organization about the case.
Since 2003, the deadly virus has infected 22 people in China and killed 14.
The last case was a 37-year-old farmer in East China's Anhui Province, which
was reported on January 10, although he had contracted the virus last year.
The virus remains essentially an animal disease, but experts fear it may
mutate into a form that is easily transmitted to humans and trigger a pandemic.
The Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which is co-developing a H5N1 bird flu
vaccine with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is
ready for the second phase of clinical trials.
"Everything is ready for the second phase which will be carried out when the
State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) gives the nod," Chen Jiangting,
director of the clinical trial research department of Sinovac told China Daily
yesterday. "We filed the application last September."
She said the first phase of clinical trials on 120 volunteers showed the
vaccine could provide 78 percent protection, and the figure meets the standard
for seasonal flu vaccine set by the European Union.
"We are upbeat about the coming second phase of clinical trials," Chen said.
(China Daily 03/02/2007 page1)