China to market first anti-Hp vaccine by next year

Beijing: Chinese scientists, who claim to have developed the world`s first oral vaccine against cancer causing bacteria Hp -- strongly linked to stomach ulcers and cancer -- plan to market it by next year.

The vaccine that can eliminate the cancer causing bacteria helicobacter pylori (Hp) has been approved by the Chinese authorities and obtained drug certificate last year,
Zhao Honglin, a spokesman at China`s No 3 Military Medical University, the vaccine`s developer, said.

"It`s the world`s first vaccine against Hp," Zhao was quoted by the official Global Times as saying.

The scientists plan to market the vaccine by next year and the it would be made public by 2011.

Clinical studies with about 6,000 participants showed that the vaccine can make the mucous membrane in the stomach immune to helicobacter pylori and stop 72 percent of
infections, he said.

Hp is a bacterium that lives in various areas of the stomach and duodenum is believed to be strongly linked to the development of duodenal and gastric ulcers and even stomach

Chronic inflammation induced by the bacteria causes further reduction of acid production and atrophy of the stomach lining, which may lead to a gastric ulcer and
increases the risk for stomach cancer.

It has been estimated that between 2 to 20 percent of people infected with Hp will develop ulcers, according to the US National Institutes of Health.

Zou Quanming, who has led the research team since 1995, said that the prevalence of stomach cancer in China is twice as much as the world average.

There are more than 600 million people with Hp, a news agency said. Zou said about 10 percent of all Chinese have gastric or duodenal ulcer and every year, 200,000
die from stomach cancer.

Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. "People have to use antibiotics to combat Hp, but the infection will reoccur easily. And antibiotics have serious side effects and are expensive," Zou said.

Zou said the vaccine would cost 200 to 300 yuan (USD 44 only), about one-third to one-fifth of the traditional treatment cost.

He said nearly everyone not infected with Hp could
take the vaccine, and children should be the first to get it.

"To those infected with Hp, they can be vaccinated
after Hp is eliminated through treatment," Zou said.

The immunity from the vaccine may last for about four
to five years, Zou said.

The Ministry of Science and Technology announced last
year development of the world`s first vaccine against Hp.

The State Food and Drug Administration also ratified
it as a new medicine, the newspaper reported.


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