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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: October 30, 2013
Five Chinese Institutions Jointly Develop H7N9 Vaccine

The H7N9 bird flu has infected 136 people and left 45 dead, since it was first reported in China in March. Many of the victims died of organ failure and the lack of a vaccine to prevent the flu had authorities worried. But now, with the announcement that researchers have developed a vaccine, there is new hope. However, questions remain as to whether with winter closing in, it will be ready in time for flu season.

One of the world's deadliest viruses has now met its match. A vaccine against the H7N9 virus has been developed by scientists in China. The announcement being made on October 27. Head researcher, Professor Li Lanjuan, said they did it by isolating H7N9 from a throat swab sample of a patient infected in April. And used reverse genetics to create the vaccine.

"Our new vaccine has been tested by various institutions, including Zhejiang University and Hong Kong University - and it meets international standards. In the past, we used to import vaccines, but now, we make them ourselves," said li.

So far, the vaccine has passed tests on ferrets, but further testing is required before it is made available in medical institutions.

The vaccine was jointly developed by five Chinese institutions, including the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University's Medical School, along with Hong Kong University, the National Institute of Food and Drug Control, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

China saw fewer H7N9 cases during the warmer months this year, with just one reported since August. But new infections are more likely in winter. Due to a lack of ventilation caused by the smog brought on by coal-powered heating.

According to Doctor Michael Osterholm from the University of Minnesota, the global vaccine manufacturing capacity for H7N9 vaccines could be just 757 million doses. But Professor Li is confident in China's ability to meet demand in the near future.

"We will produce however much the government states," Li said.

Whether China's vaccine is enough - and ready in time - to stop the fatal flu, will be tested in the months ahead as the mercury continues to plunge.

(CNTV.cn October 29, 2013)


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