Vietnam prepares to launch bird flu vaccine

TN News

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A Vietnam vaccine production company says it has locally manufactured vaccinations for the bird flu virus H5N1, which has been plaguing Vietnam seasonally for many years.

The Health Ministry's Hanoi-based Company for Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 announced that the Fluvax was produced by growing cells from monkey kidneys.

It said the same technology is being used to produce a vaccine against the swine flu virus H1N1. Laboratory tests have proved the vaccine is effective and the company is asking for the ministry's permission to test it on people.

Bird flu, caused by H5N1, has caused at least 61 deaths among 122 infected patients in Vietnam since 2003, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The World Bank ranked Vietnam as among countries most affected by the virus.

Patients are infected from direct or close contact with poultry carrying the virus, which is deadly to domesticated ducks and chickens. So far, Vietnam has been vaccinating farmed fowl and treating infected people with antiviral Tamiflu.

Swine flu in Vietnam has infected more than 11,200 people, killing 70 by the end of 2011. The epidemic eased last year.

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