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Beijing promises flu vaccine for humans

China will begin mass-production of a new bird flu vaccine for poultry by the end of the month that could also help in the development of a vaccine to protect people, state media said on Monday.

The new vaccine — 1 billion shots of which are expected to have been produced by year-end — will be used alongside existing vaccines from next year, the China Daily said, quoting chief veterinarian Jia Youling.

The live vaccine, which will also work against another poultry disease, Newcastle disease, can be delivered orally, nasally or by spraying and will cost a fifth of existing inactivated vaccines, the newspaper said.

Standard flu shots are inactivated, meaning the virus is killed, but live vaccines contain weakened forms of the live virus.

Newcastle outbreaks killed almost 57,000 chickens in China in September, the report said.

"Research and production techniques will provide reference for developing new vaccines for human infections of bird flu," Jia was quoted as saying. There have been 141 human cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu so far.

(The Times of India)

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