Chinese researchers report that a new bird flu vaccine shows promise in early human tests.
Like the previously announced Glaxo and Sanofi bird flu vaccines, the Chinese H5N1 bird flu vaccine is given with an immune-boosting substance called an adjuvant.
Jiangtao Lin, MD, of Beijing’s Chinese-Japanese Friendship Hospital, and colleagues tested various doses of the bird flu vaccine in 120 adult volunteers aged 18-60.
Why is a low dose important? In an editorial accompanying the Lin report, British infectious bird flu disease specialist Iain Stephenson, MRCP, notes that if there’s a bird-flu pandemic, the world will need hundreds of millions of doses and fast.
This means bird flu scientists will be trying to make as much of the vaccine’s main ingredient — the vaccine antigen — as quickly as possible. The lower the dose, the more doses you get. That’s why researchers striving for a bird flu vaccine are looking for “dose-sparing” techniques.
Pain, swelling, and fever were the most common side effects reported by study participants who received the bird flu vaccine.