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SARS vaccine found safe in test
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-05 22:01

The first-phase human test of a vaccine for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), developed by Chinese scientists, proved that it is safe and effective.

As the first of the worldwide vaccine teams to finish first-phase clinical trials, the national research team said that China has taken the lead in the global race to develop a remedy for the deadly illness, according to sources from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Team head Yin Weidong said all 36 volunteers receiving the SARS vaccine in the clinical tests showed no obvious side effects and antibodies had been produced in their bodies.

"We have finished our first-phase clinical test in line with international vaccine-testing requirements," said Yin, adding that the phase is mainly aimed at evaluating the safety of the vaccine.

Thirty-six healthy volunteers aged between 21 and 40 took part in the trials which began on May 22 and ended at the end of last month.

Eighteen received an injection of a low-dosage SARS inactivated vaccine while the remaining 18 received a high dosage.

Yin said antibodies in volunteers' blood serum were produced and except for such minor side effects as fever and discomfort, volunteers showed no other adverse reactions and their health was in good condition.

More than 100 leading researchers and scientists nationwide have taken part in the programme jointly launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration.

At least 10 different types of SARS vaccines are under development, as cited by an earlier report from the science ministry.

Four of them, developed by Canada and the United States, will go into clinical trials by the end of this year. Vaccines developed by France and Austria will likely be at the same stage next year.

The first SARS case was recorded in the southern province of Guangdong in November 2002.

The epidemic killed over 770 people worldwide, most of them in Asia, before subsiding in June.

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