Australia starts 1st swine flu vaccine trials

Jul 22, 2009
A bottle containing the N1H1 virus-killing "VirusBom" is seen in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, July 21, 2009. A Taiwanese government-funded research team from the National Taiwan University unveiled Tuesday a chemical that it says can kill swine flu and bird flu viruses in the environment to help prevent the spread of the epidemics. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

(AP) -- The world's first human trials of a swine flu vaccine have begun in Australia, drug company officials said Wednesday, with the aim of controlling the virus that has so far killed more than 700 worldwide.

Two biotechnology companies have started injecting adult volunteers in the southern city of Adelaide with their vaccines. Adelaide-based Vaxine began trials Monday with 300 subjects, and Melbourne's CSL has 240 people in its seven-month trial, which started Wednesday. The companies say their trials are the first tests of a on humans.

At least 41 people have died in swine flu-related illness in Australia, which is well into its winter flu season.

"We're in the southern hemisphere, and that is where the problem is right now," Vaxine research director Nikolai Petrovsky told The Associated Press. "The demand was here yesterday. We're right in the middle of a surge of swine flu cases where perhaps the United States won't have to worry about it as much until their flu season hits in six months."

Australia had confirmed 14,703 cases of swine flu as of Wednesday. The worldwide death toll from swine flu is more than 700, according to the World Health Organization, which recently stopped counting the number of cases worldwide. An explosion of cases is predicted in September and October, when students and workers in the northern hemisphere return from summer vacation.

CSL expects that initial results will allow distribution of its government-funded vaccine in October. The federal government has already ordered 21 million doses of CSL's vaccine for use in Australia, should it be proven to work.

"We have a specific vaccine that we believe will be able to protect millions of people against this new H1N1 flu," Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL's director of research and development, told reporters. He called swine flu "a novel strain of influenza" and said the trial would determine the dose and schedule of the vaccination.

Vaxine's Petrovsky said it would be six to eight weeks before results would verify whether a vaccine was effective.

"There is no guarantee any of these vaccines will work," he said. "Swine flu is a very peculiar beast, its a very different virus that we're dealing with. But we are hopeful."

Medical experts warned against rushing the vaccines through trials.

"I think it's important for the public to know that they're going to get a safe and effective vaccine," Andrew Pesce, president of the Australian Medical Association, told Sky News television. "No one will give anybody brownie points for putting out a vaccine that didn't work or caused harm."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: New treatment approved for rare form of hemophilia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird flu vaccine not effective in trial

Feb 17, 2006

A highly anticipated bird flu vaccine trial in Australia has proven protective for only a small minority of the 400 volunteers in the clinical trial.

US wants ingredient in swine flu vaccine by May

Apr 28, 2009

(AP) -- U.S. scientists hope to have a key ingredient for a swine flu vaccine ready in early May, but tell The Associated Press that the novel virus grows slowly in eggs - the chief way flu vaccines are made.

GlaxoSmithKline taking pandemic vaccine orders

May 15, 2009

(AP) -- Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline said Friday it has received orders from several countries to stockpile pandemic vaccine as soon as it gets the vaccine's key ingredient from the World Health Organization.

Human trials of universal flu vaccine begin

Sep 08, 2008

Clinical trials of a new vaccine that could protect against multiple types of flu are beginning at Oxford University. If successful, the ‘universal’ flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against ...

WHO meets on production of swine flu vaccine

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- As swine flu cases hit 6,500 worldwide, World Health Organization officials were meeting with vaccine manufacturers and other experts in Geneva on Thursday to discuss making a vaccine to fight the virus.

Recommended for you

WHO: Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015

18 hours ago

The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March.

Added benefit of vedolizumab is not proven

Oct 23, 2014

Vedolizumab (trade name Entyvio) has been approved since May 2014 for patients with moderately to severely active Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis. In an early benefit assessment pursuant to the Act on the Reform of the ...

Seaweed menace may yield new medicines

Oct 22, 2014

An invasive seaweed clogging up British coasts could be a blessing in disguise. University of Greenwich scientists have won a cash award to turn it into valuable compounds which can lead to new, life-saving drugs.

User comments : 0