China is likely to be the first country to vaccinate its population against the swine flu, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, hailing the country's first home-grown A(H1N1) vaccine.
Beijing approved drugmaker Sinovac's single-dose vaccine on Thursday and another Chinese pharmaceutical company Hualan "appears to hope to get (its version of swine flu vaccine) approved next week," said Marie-Paule Kieny, who heads the UN health agency's vaccine research.
It is now "likely that China would be the first country to vaccinate its population" against the flu, from which at least 2,185 people around the world have died, added Kieny.
"The Chinese were very rapid on this, and we can congratulate them for having shared their trial results with us," she said.
Kieny said the WHO had received a copy of Sinovac's trial results on its single-dose vaccine, and that a WHO official was able to discuss the results with the pharmaceutical firm.
The trial results "appear promising in the sense that with a single dose of the vaccine, it leads to satisfactory results," she added.
Earlier Thursday, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said trials on its swine flu vaccine also indicate that a single dose could be enough to offer protection against the A(H1N1) virus.
Last month WHO chief Margaret Chan said that vaccine supplies would be "extremely limited" in coming months, but one-dose drugs would go far to alleviate that concern.