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Vietnam lab says it has bird flu vaccine

Scientists at Vietnamese laboratory claim to have produced 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the deadly H5N1 virus.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 13:06 IST

A Vietnamese laboratory said on Thursday it managed to produce a bird flu vaccine for humans that has now to be validated by the Ministry of Health before a possible test.

Scientists at the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Biological Products, in central Khanh Hoa province, had produced 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the deadly H5N1 virus, said its director, Dr Le Van Hiep.

"We produced the vaccine via a technology of transplant on chicken eggs. It was tested successfully on mice and roosters," he said.

"The project started late 2005. The vaccine was sent to a laboratory of the Ministry of Health and we are waiting for its answer."

Following ministry approval, authorities could allow scientists to try the vaccine on humans.

The Hanoi Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has also worked in recent months on a separate programme to produce a vaccine.

The H5N1 virus has killed 42 people in Vietnam since late 2003, and is now considered endemic in the country. The Southeast Asian nation is the worst hit by the disease after Indonesia.

But it has reported no new human cases for more than a year, and has been praised for its ability to tackle the disease.

World health experts have warned the H5N1 virus could lead to a global pandemic if it were to mutate into a form that was easily transmitted between humans.

First Published: Nov 23, 2006 13:06 IST