Beijing: Chinese researchers have developed a vaccine for H7N9 bird flu virus which left more than 45 dead in China during the last few months.
Shu Yuelong, director of the Chinese National Influenza Center, said this is the first influenza vaccine ever developed by Chinese scientists.
The vaccine has provided important technical support to battle the new flu strain, making contribution to the H7N9 flu virus epidemic control all over the world, said Shu, also director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza.
The vaccine was jointly developed by the First Affiliated Hospital under the School of Medicine of the Zhejiang University, Hong Kong University, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Food and Drug Control, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, state run Xinhua news agency reported.
China reported the world's first human case for H7N9 bird flu infection in March.
So far a total of 136 people were confirmed to have been infected with the virus, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).
Of the infected, 45 died, representing a fatality rate of 33.1 per cent. No cases have been reported so far in other countries.
The outbreak noticed only in China shook the country and hit the poultry industry hard.
Li Lanjuan, leading researcher from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the team started research after they successfully isolated H7N9 bird flu virus from the throat swab sample of an infected patient on April 3.
The team applied plasmid reverse genetics and genetic reassortment, which was widely adopted by the world, to develop the vaccine seeds, which were later proved to be safe with the embryonated chicken eggs, she said.
Currently, the vaccine has passed the test on ferrets, which was conducted by the Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
Drug authorities have also verified the vaccine in accordance with relevant requirements of Chinese Pharmacopoeia.
At the news conference on the research findings in Hangzhou, medicine producers, such as Tianyuan Bio-Pharmaceutical Co Ltd showed interest in the vaccine's production, although the virus has not been spread widely enough for mass inoculation.
Liu Dengfeng, deputy chief of the science and education department of the NHFPC, said, as the weather temperature went down, the epidemic would return, considering new cases had been reported lately.
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