Results of human trials for H1N1 vaccine to be known soon
By Chen Li-ting, Chen Ching-fang and Deborah Kuo, CNA
October 16, 2009, 1:40 pm TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The effectiveness of the first-stage human clinical trials for a Taiwan-produced vaccine for influenza A (H1N1), which began Sept. 23, is expected to be known from Oct. 20 onward, the vaccine developer said Friday.
The results will be referred to the Department of Health (DOH) Oct. 21 for screening after project managers at three hospitals, where the trials took place -- National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) , the Tri-Service General Hospital and the Taipei Medical University-Wan Fang Hospital -- met over the findings of the trials.
A total of 475 people representing all age groups were given the first shot and have undergone subsequent testing over the past three weeks to determine the concentration of antibodies in their blood, according to Adimmune Corp. -- Taiwan's only human vaccine manufacturer.
Some of those who were given the first shot have also been receiving a second shot for the second stage of the trial since Oct. 12 and are expected to return to the hospital in three weeks to have their blood examined again, according to Adimmune.
"If over 70 percent of those tested produce antibodies, this will be considered proof of the vaccine's effectiveness, " said Huang Li-min, a physician in NTUH's Department of Pediatrics.
Under a DOH plan, people aged under 9 will be given two shots to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccination once an immunization program is implemented nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned Wednesday that a second wave of the H1N1 outbreak is emerging in Taiwan after a previous one peaked in early September.
According to CDC Director-General Steve Kuo, the H1N1 situation has been moderating over the past five weeks since the previous peak, although a slight jump in the number of patients diagnosed with the new flu strain recently signals the beginning of a second wave.
Statistics released by the CECC show that the total number of H1N1 hospitalized patients since the outbreak began had reached 367 as of late Thursday. Of the total, 24 remained in the hospital, 319 had recovered and been discharged, and 24 others had died.
Starting from November, 15 million doses of H1N1 vaccine sourced from home and abroad will be distributed, according to the DOH plan.
The vaccine will be distributed in order of priority, led by typhoon-affected victims, medical personnel in charge of disease control and prevention, and pregnant women.
They will be followed by pre-school children, seriously ill patients, elementary, junior and senior high school students, individuals in the 19-24 age bracket and those over 25 at high risk of cardiopulmonary disease, healthy people in the 25-49 age bracket, and those between 50 and 64.