First bird flu vaccine tests encouraging

15th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 15 (AFP) - French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis Thursday reported encouraging results from preliminary trials of a vaccine against the strain of bird flu known as H5N1 that has proved fatal to humans.

PARIS, Dec 15 (AFP) - French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis Thursday reported encouraging results from preliminary trials of a vaccine against the strain of bird flu known as H5N1 that has proved fatal to humans.

"Preliminary results of clinical trials ... demonstrated a good immune response in a significant number of volunteers," the company said in a statement.

"Preliminary results showed that the vaccine is safe and well-tolerated in 300 healthy volunteers."

The vaccine tested in France is a "pre-pandemic" type, or an initial version developed in advance of a possible mutation of the virus into a form that would cause widespread illness in humans.

Sanofi-Aventis has a contract with France's health ministry to produce 1.4 million doses of the prototype vaccine before the end of the year. The company is also to supply up to 28 million vaccination doses if a pandemic was declared.

The H5N1 has already killed almost 70 people in Asia.

Health experts fear the virus, which currently humans contract only after close exposure to birds and is not transmissible between people, could jump the species barrier to mix with common flu genes and spark a worldwide pandemic.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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